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Air Raid Precautions

Volume 320: debated on Thursday 18 February 1937

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asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the nature of the criticism of air-protection plans by the Cambridge scientists anti-war group, he proposes to take any steps to reassure the public as to the efficacy of the Government's proposals?

I am advised that the experiments carried out by the persons referred to depend on academic assumptions and have been interpreted on purely theoretical lines. Both the experiments themselves and the deductions made from them are consequently open to grave criticism. The Government's recommendations on the other hand are based upon carefully conducted experiments employing actual war gases liberated under practical conditions, and having particular regard to the circumstances in which gas can be discharged from aircraft. My right hon. Friend is satisfied, as I stated on 15th February in reply to a question by the hon. Member for North Kensington (Mr. Duncan) that the recommended methods of gas-proofing would be effective in affording a very great measure of protection and would reduce materially the number of casualties which might otherwise occur.

37 and 38.

asked the Home Secretary (1) when it is proposed to take action arising out of the recommendations of the Fire Service Committee;

(2) what are the arrangements proposed to organise the fire service of the country in units and collectively against fires, etc., arising from hostile attack?

With regard to fire brigade co-operation for emergency purposes, schemes on a regional basis will be submitted to the local authorities concerned for their consideration as soon as the necessary preparatory work can be completed. With regard to the extension of local fire-fighting services to meet the risk of incendiary attack from the air, the action already being taken was summarised in a reply given to the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Sandys) on 2nd December, 1936. A memorandum on the whole subject of emergency fire brigade organisation is about to be issued to local authorities, together with a circular indicating the extent to which, and the conditions under which, Exchequer assistance will be given to fire brigade authorities in connection with their emergency schemes. The memorandum and the circular will be placed on sale, and copies will be placed in the Library of the House.