Fire and Rescue Service response to the terrible flooding of recent weeks has been truly remarkable and is a credit to all personnel. Whilst many agencies were caught up in a cycle of negative publicity and blame, fire personnel proved beyond reproach, performing magnificently in strenuous circumstances. Sadly, this went largely unrecognised in the national media.
FIRE has nothing to add but our praise and extensive coverage of the work undertaken by fire personnel in the magazine and online.
Further reading: FRS flood teams praised by CFOA President and South Yorks & Cheshire send support to flood-hit areas
Elsewhere, there is a matter that has come to our attention which staggers belief: the disregard of regulations threatening the safety of UK citizens.
Following an investigation by the BBC’s Fake Britain programme, the latest Edition of FIRE Magazine sees CFOA President Paul Fuller highlight his concerns over a rise in the number of UK retailers selling products that fail fire safety testing laid out by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988.
'Name and shame' campaign
CFO Fuller described it as a "a truly outrageous finding" that eight out of ten sofas and four of the mattresses did not meet the standards in the Fake Britain investigation - subscribe at www.fire-magazine.com/fire-magazine/ to read his thoughts in full.
Fake labelling was also highlighted as a problem as eight of the sofas had fire retardant labels although they failed the tests. All of the retailers expressed astonishment at the results and promised to look urgently at the matter. In return, FIRE promises to name and shame any retailer who fails to respond appropriately. The Chief Fire Officers Association, government and trade bodies are taking steps to ensure compliance and we will keep a watchful eye. Why?
Studies have shown that since the introduction of fire-safe furniture there has been around 50 per cent reduction in domestic injuries and deaths up to 2002. That amounts to 780 fewer casualties and 1,065 fewer fires per year from 2003-2007 alone. That has saved the economy £140 million a year. In short, thousands of lives have been saved and they are now being put back at risk by this disgraceful, flagrant disregard for regulations.
Another concern raised is possible changes to the fire testing regime to reduce the use of potentially harmful chemicals. Paul Fuller calls for these considerations to be carried out in a way that properly balances the risk, stating: ‘It would be a huge backward step to weaken the regulations in any way without very good reason’.
FIRE will take this a stage further and will scrutinise any proposed changes by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. We invite all interested parties to join our campaign to ensure the life-saving measures introduced by a rare alliance of representatives from union, management and politics in the 1980s are not eroded by the indifference of errant retailers.