Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has renewed an existing agreement with the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, relating to emergency planning for incidents at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 

The renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding, which was first signed in January 2009, will ensure the continued protection of important historical information held among the archives at the Public Record Office during an emergency incident.   

It forms the basis of a strong partnership between the PRONI and NIFRS and is part of a multi-agency network for emergency planning at many sites of historical significance across Northern Ireland.   

Chris Kerr, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said: "The renewal of this agreement with the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure for the protection of archive material at the Public Record Office is a key element of our wider strategy in protecting the heritage sector across Northern Ireland. 

"The agreement provides a framework for co-operation for both organisations by clarifying roles and responsibilities for information exchange, emergency planning, and training as well as interagency working at the scene of an incident at the Public Record Office. This will undoubtedly enhance our operational response to any emergency incident at the Public Record Office. 

"As a fire and rescue service, we recognise the vital role we play in heritage protection in planning for and responding to emergency incidents at our many sites of historical and cultural importance across Northern Ireland". 

Cynthia Smith, Deputy Secretary, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure added: "The partnership brings practical benefits of site familiarisation, testing of systems and joint training exercises, as well as building a network of professional expertise which can provide mutual aid in the event of a heritage-related disaster. In short, it helps keep our heritage safe."