SIPTU calls for extensive fire risk audit in light of deficiencies in school safety standards
SIPTU full-time and retained firefighter representatives have called for the urgent commencement of a comprehensive fire risk audit of recently built public and residential properties following the discovery of deficiencies in safety standards at several schools.
SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, John King, said: “SIPTU organises full-time and retained firefighters in all local authority areas. The problem of possible serious deficiencies in fire safety standards in recently built public and residential buildings has been one which has greatly concerned our members for some time.
“Recent reports of deficiencies in fire safety in several schools built within the last ten years is yet another example of the legacy of ‘soft touch’ and self-regulation building standards which were introduced during the so-called Celtic Tiger era. These cases further highlight the urgent requirement for a thorough, comprehensive and wide-ranging fire risk audit to be conducted across a whole range of public and residential buildings built within the last ten years, along with a full risk assessment of their surrounding areas.”
He added: “Our members in the fire service have been seeking such an audit for some time. In July, the need for such an audit was forcibly made by our firefighter representatives in a meeting with Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, which was held in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.
“SIPTU representatives have also sought from Dublin City Council and several other localauthorities a list of all the buildings over which there is a concern about deficiencies relating to building regulations and fire standards. We are still awaiting these lists.”
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “SIPTU firefighter representatives have asked for an increase in the set number of fire appliances which respond to an incident where there is a lack of knowledge concerning the risks associated with a property and its immediate surrounds. In light of these concerns a previous Chief Fire Officer in Dublin increased the so-called Pre- Determined Attendance (PDA) in the city to from two to three fire appliances.
“Subsequent to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, our members called for the PDA to be increased again. This has not happened.”