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Fire Guard Duties

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the married, non-resident, full-time nursing staff at the emergency hospital, Rugby, have been informed that they are to do fire-watching duties at the hospital during their off-duty time; that many of these married nurses, in addition to their hospital duties, are on emergency call throughout the 24 hours and have home duties and shopping to perform; and whether he will inquire into this matter?

Under the forthcoming Orders women will only be liable for fire guard duty at the premises at which they work where, as in the present case, there are not enough men available to carry out the arrangements. I propose at the same time to make suitable provision to ensure that women working at business premises who have heavy domestic responsibilities may be exempted from fire prevention duties at those premises.

Are we not indebted to the trade unions in some measure for this modification?

Yes, there has been a good deal of co-operation from the trade unions.


asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that, when incendiary bombs fell recently on a building of which he has been informed, there was only one porter on duty who was available for service; that there is no allocation of staffs for fire prevention duty until 11 o'clock each night; and whether he will take steps to ensure adequate cover from 5 to 11 p.m.?

From preliminary inquiries it appears that three members of the staff were on fire guard duty on the occasion in question and that normally up to 11 p.m. there are two porters on fire guard duty in addition to a large number of hospital staff, all of whom have been trained in fire guard duties. These latter are available for fire guard duties in an emergency.

If I submit a letter from the staff, will my right hon. Friend go into this matter again as his reply does not accord with my information?