Scottish consultations on fire safety launched

Scottish consultations on fire safety launched

BOTH THE Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the Scottish government have launched separate public consultations regarding fire safety and rescue.

SFRS’ consultation has asked Highland residents for their views on the region’s fire and rescue plan, including their thoughts on how SFRS ‘can make communities throughout the area safer and at the same time reduce inequalities and deliver positive outcomes’. The consultation is open until 30 November, with the plan being looked at setting out ‘priorities and objectives’, and final plans will be passed to Highland Council for approval after the consultation is complete.

John MacDonald, local senior officer for Highland, stated: ‘While we have knowledge from our day to day activities about what is most needed by people who live in the Highlands, it is an important part of our community engagement strategy to enable those representing the public to offer views. We engaged with our stakeholders to seek their views on how well we had been performing against our existing priorities, and have taken account of that in our draft plan which is now out for consultation.

‘We welcome comments from our partners and members of our communities on our proposed priorities for Highland and we recognise that effective partnership working is key to delivering success.’

In addition, the Scottish government has sought public views on a smoke alarm consultation, with the aim of ‘creating a blanket standard for smoke alarms across all homes’ in the country. This was fast tracked after the Grenfell Tower fire, and opens today, with STVnoting that at the moment ‘stricter standards apply for new-build homes and privately-rented housing than those for social rented properties and homeowners’.

A senior housing figure stated that this was a ‘long-standing anomaly’, and the consultation will look at whether the same standard ‘should apply to all types of housing’, as well as opinions on ‘the type and location of alarms, how often they should be replaced and how people could be encouraged to comply with a stricter standard’.

Kevin Stewart, housing minister, commented: ‘Scotland has rigorous standards for smoke and fire alarms developed over time, with new-build and private-rented housing at the highest standard. I want everyone to benefit from the same level of protection - so this consultation proposes that the same standard should apply for everyone, whether you own your home, or rent from a social or private landlord.

‘Fires and fatalities from fires are decreasing but there were still more than 5600 fires in homes in Scotland with 39 fatalities last year, and every death is one too many. As we saw from the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, building and fire safety is of utmost importance, which is why this consultation has been brought forward as a priority. I encourage everyone to have their say.’