Grenfell Tower: Britain’s Parliament Should Be Recalled From Recess

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 S.I. 2005 No.1541 is a statutory instrument, applicable in England and Wales. The Order places the responsibility on individuals within an organisation to carry out risk assessments to identify, manage and reduce the risk of fire. The Order came into force on 1 October 2006.

It applies, inter alia, to premises in multiple occupation and in relation thereto provides for statutory fire precautions to take measures related to:

1.     reducing the risk of fire on the premises and the risk of the spread of fire;

2.     the means of escape from the premises;

3.     the means for fighting fires on the premises;

4.     the means for detecting fire on the premises and giving warning in case of fire on the premises; and

5.     to the arrangements for action to be taken in the event of fire on the premises, including—

6.     to the instruction and training of employees; and

7.     to mitigate the effects of the fire.

By adopting a fire risk assessment approach, the responsible person(s) will need to look at how to prevent fire from occurring in the first place, by removing or reducing hazards and risks (ignition sources) and then look at the precautions to ensure that people are adequately protected, if a fire were still to occur.

Article 12 of the Act specifically provides that:

‘To ensure the risk to relevant persons related to the presence of dangerous substances is either eliminated or reduced by replacing the dangerous substance with a substance or process, which either eliminates or reduces the risk. Where the risk cannot be eliminated, he must apply measures to control the risk and mitigate the detrimental effects of a fire’.

It is contended that the Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor (CFRA) together with Chief Fire Officers (CFOs) in London, Manchester and elsewhere are, and were, in gross breach of the law(s) relating to fire safety, and should answer to these charges.

The Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser (CFRA) is employed by the Home Office and provides strategic advice and guidance to ministers, civil servants, fire and rescue authorities in England and other partners (including the devolved administrations, the police and Health and Safety Executive), on the structure, organisation and performance of fire and rescue authorities.

CFRA is part of the Home Office and, therefore, the government itself i.e. the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, have vital questions to answer. Such questions, it is contended, are of sufficient urgency for the House to be recalled as a matter of national importance in view of the potentially serious threat to life.

Featured image is from 21st Century Wire.

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Articles by: Anthony Bellchambers

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