Working with industry leaders, the Fire Sector Federation has launched an initiative calling for wider discussion to create a national fire safety strategy, which goes beyond current legislative proposals, to comprehensively address measures to mitigate fire risk in the UK.
The Federation has published a white paper, Developing a National Strategy for Fire Safety, setting out a possible pathway for the fire sector and government to work together to create a safer society from fire.
The paper seeks government support to ensure that fire remains a priority, to integrate policy across departments and devolved administrations, and to make full use of the technical expertise within the specialised fire sector to achieve success.
The Federation suggests three areas for immediate priority: raising competency; mitigating fire risk in modular and other buildings using mass timber; together with partnering the construction sector to raise awareness of fire risk from innovative new products and methodologies.
The proposals were developed by a new Fire Sector Federation Fire Safety Strategy Board, chaired by the Federation’s Policy and Strategy Lead, Jonathan O’Neill, with leadership expertise drawn from across a diverse range of sectors including, fire safety, fire and rescue, construction, insurance and building control. (full list below)
Fire Sector Federation Chair, John Spencer, said: “While we have seen significant new legislation introduced in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it is incumbent upon everyone in the built environment to avoid further complacency and address problems we know continue to exist and may evolve in future. Industry is well placed to understand these problems, and just as importantly, some of their solutions.
“Engaging positively and supportively with government, we believe a National Fire Strategy is the most effective way to achieve the shared aim of a fire safe society. Our desire is to have a road map to deliver an effective and resilient fire safety agenda aligned within a secure and sustainable environment and that requires collective actions in both industry and government.”
Jonathan O’Neill, Chair of the Federation Fire Safety Strategy Board, said: “The Board’s vision is to create a single voice to support the management of fire risk and achieve a safer and sustainable solution with a clear, integrated pathway to success. As an industry, we can use our unrivalled knowledge and experience to define the route to better fire safety.
“We need to break the cycle of stable door legislation following major tragedies and replace it with a proactive approach that secures for government and the sector a holistic solution to prevent and protect society and the economy from foreseen losses”.
“A new strategy will address the current gaps in fire safety and in doing so will enable the industry to help government set appropriate policy priorities for success. The white paper highlights the need for ‘fire’ to be a priority for government with a better understanding of the complex factors involved and for better integration of policy across ministerial portfolios. The fire sector promotes professional understanding in a responsible industry and wants a vibrant and successful UK. Awaiting another tragedy as the precursor to moving fire safety up the policy agenda would only represent failure and suffering.”
The current membership of the Federation Fire Safety Strategy Board comprises a wide range of recognised leaders and experts in fire safety from the following organisations:
Fire Sector Federation
Association for Specialist Fire Protection
Fire Industry Association
Local Authority Building Control
Construction Products Association Marketing Group
Institution of Fire Engineers
National Fire Chiefs Council
Construction Industry Council
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors