Local Governments attempt to put fire safety centre-stage for new Parliament
The workings of local government often go unseen by the 24-hours news cycle, especially as we prepare for one of the closest General Elections in a generation, and all eyes are on the Westminster political bubble.
However, on a municipal level, policy-makers are already making plans for the next Parliament (whatever shape it may take), and the legislative priorities that will define. With this in mind, the Local Government Association and the Chief Fire Officers' Association are calling for a number of fire and safety measures that could further save lives; this comes at a time when fire-related incidents still make up a worryingly high proportion of deaths across the UK. Their key policy aim is to deepen and broaden fire and safety prevention, as well as looking at wider health and safety issues (e.g. road traffic collisions).
The LGA and the CFOA have, between them, worked on a series of costed proposals, which aim to both increase the effectiveness of fire and safety services, whilst also guaranteeing efficiency at a time when further local government austerity is a very real prospect over the coming five years; it is hoped that further steps to ensure fire safety and prevention can be enacted over the coming Parliament, whilst saving local governments as much as £500 million.
The legislation being proposed by these two bodies for the new Parliament includes mandatory smoke alarms in all privately rented properties, which could guarantee the safety of as many as four million households.
In a time when there is pressure on fire and rescue services to save money, the LGA and CFOA recommendations form part of a wider fire safety initiative designed to emphasise fire prevention, as opposed to fire fighting.
There is a new onus on fire and rescue services to work with local government, housing associations and private landlords to further guarantee fire safety.