FSF Brian Robinson 180Fire Sector Federation (FSF) chairman Brian Robinson has suggested that the government's current approach to fire fails to take into account the changing built environment or the impact of devolution on fire safety standards and operational response.

Speaking at the Fire Sector Summit [4 November], Robinson questioned the impact of devolution on national fire safety and outlined a series of fire sector concerns about the future of fire and fire safety.

With the number of fire deaths at its lowest in a decade, the Robinson suggested that "the government believes fire safety is totally under control".

"However, this view fails to take into account the built environment as well as the potential impact on fire safety standards and operational response of changes to national and local government and fire service structures," he said.

"With massive infrastructure developments; significant change in the types of materials and construction processes used; and increasingly complex buildings, the Federation believes that increased vigilance and national scrutiny of fire safety will be vital in securing a safer society."

He went on to warn that further regional devolution, such as the proposed Northern Powerhouse arrangement, matched with changes to fire service management and governance could lead to increasing localism, and result in greater inconsistencies in fire safety enforcement, operational response and falling fire safety standards.

"Devolution offers an opportunity to finally address the question of fire and fire safety from the earliest stages of planning and the Federation believes that fire must be a serious consideration within the devolution agenda," added Robinson.

"The FSF has some reservations with regards to maintaining national scrutiny, specifically on fire safety, should the Government’s devolution and fire service governance plans come to fruition. Fire in the UK is much wider than the fire service and this must be taken into account when considering any changes to national and local government and fire service roles, responsibilities and governance."

Building on these concerns, the Federation has developed a strategy document which outlines several areas of concern to the wider fire sector and will continue to develop suitable solutions to these issues including:
- Wider impact of fire and the consequential costs of fire to society
- Developing complexity of the built environment and the fundamental challenges it sets
- Modern approach to fire safety founded on risk-based considerations
- Bureaucratic cost of fire to business
- Governance of fire safety for the public good; and
- Impact of blue light structure and organisation on levels of public safety.

Find out more at www.firesectorfederation.com