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Featured blog post

Public safety first

Andrew Lynch

FIRE Editor Andrew Lynch calls for the fire sector to up its game and produce a model for integrated risk management plans that puts public safety ahead of political whims and financial restrictions.

The Fire and Rescue Service is at a crossroads. The second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy sees fire sector participants buried in consultation exercises and working groups to implement Hackitt, whilst the second tranche of inspection results by HMICFRS is on its way, with more of the same predicted. It barely needs saying that these are politically volatile times and for the Service, potentially damaging with the second stage of the Grenfell public inquiry looming.

Anticipating a Labour Government in the not too distant future, the Fire Brigades Union is setting its stall out by challenging its old allies to back sweeping changes to the Fire and Rescue Service and invest in fire safety. Conference voted for UK-wide standards and structures, including minimum response times and a commitment to five firefighters on every fire appliance.

In response Shadow Fire Minister Karen Lee promised to address the “long overdue pay rise, ensuring fire services receive the resources they need and fixing broken fire regulations”. As ever, it’s easier to raise the stakes in opposition. Let’s see what happens should they get into power. As Tory leadership candidates’ trip over themselves to denounce the Police cuts they themselves voted for (we await similar public confessions on Fire), it is impossible to predict which way the tide will turn. But it is a good time to assess the current state of the Fire nation.

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