It is truly remarkable that, for nearly ten years, the UK fire and rescue services have avoided the death of a firefighter at an operational incident. It is an inherently dangerous job as evidenced by the research into the risk index by Forbes Advisor (see FIRE April 2023 pg 7), and almost inevitably, there will be further deaths, such is the nature of the firefighters’ role.

Like most dangerous industries – aviation, petrochemical and military – the FRS has gradually improved its safety record: the last nine and a half years has been the longest interval between firefighters’ deaths at incidents. Nevertheless, the investigation into Barry Martin’s tragic accident at a fire in Jenner’s department store in Princes Street, Edinburgh in January will undoubtedly take an extended period of time. Hopefully, a response will not follow the trajectory of similar incidents when findings have taken months, even years, before any lessons have been made available to other services. Failures to act in a timely manner by communicating lessons identified has put other firefighters at risk of dying through ignorance of what really happened.


Read the full article on our digital issue, page 44-46.

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