The Fire Standards Board (FSB) has announced the launch of the tenth professional Fire Standard; Fire Investigation.
The Fire Investigation Fire Standard focuses on ensuring fire and rescue services (FRS) deliver effective, efficient and valid fire investigations into the origin, cause and development of fire.
One of the desired outcomes of the Fire Investigation Fire Standard is that services will have a competent and resilient capability to undertake fire investigations, adhering to relevant legislation, guidance and codes of practice. The Fire Investigation Fire Standard also makes reference to the ISO 17020 Conformity Assessment.
The development of this standard has been led by NFCC Lead for Fire Investigation, Chris Blacksell and the NFCC Fire Investigation Committee.
One of the expected benefits of achieving the Fire Standard is the improved safety and wellbeing of members of the public (FRS communities) and FRS employees; by identifying risk and communicating product safety issues. More expected benefits can be found within the standard.
As with all Fire Standards, there's a corresponding Fire Standards Implementation Tool to support services with the implementation. The tool was designed to support services in assessing how well they meet the standard; helping them to build an action plan to identify and address any gaps. This can be found on the Fire Standards Board website: www.firestandards.org
Chair of the Fire Standards Board, Suzanne McCarthy said:
"The Fire Investigation Fire Standard builds on our increasing portfolio of professional Fire Standards, driving continuous improvement across the sector.
"Thank you to those individuals and services for their work in bringing the standard together; ensuring that like all of our published standards, it's been developed by the sector, for the sector, and is a benchmark of good practice."
Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said:
"I'm delighted to see the launch of the Fire Investigation Fire Standard which will support all Fire and Rescue Services to follow a consistent and robust process when conducting these investigations.
"Fire investigators perform a vital role in helping to improve public safety, not least through contributing evidence to the justice system and supporting the development of prevention, protection and operational response activities.
"I am also comforted to know that this standard will champion post-incident wellbeing support for investigators, aiding their health in conducting their challenging roles."
Whilst it is not mandatory for services to comply with the Fire Standards, the National Fire Framework makes clear that services are expected to pay due regard to Fire Standards as will the HMICFRS in their inspections. The Fire Standards Board anticipate that in many cases services are already achieving the outcomes which are the foundation of each Fire Standard. Where they are not, they accept services will need to implement any changes to enable them to achieve the standards in a way that fits with their strategic planning, improvement work and timetable.