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Hazardous Materials

Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he is satisfied that the fire service is kept fully informed of hazardous materials stored on industrial premises;(2) whether the fire service is able, in the event of an explosion at the premises of any firm storing hazardous materials, to get an instant up-date of those materials, their quantities and disposition;(3) whether the fire service receives regular up-dated information about hazardous materials stored at industrial premises;(4) whether the fire service is satisfied with the information it receives from the Health and Safety Executive on the storage of hazardous materials on industrial premises;(5) whether he will initiate discussions between the fire service and the Health and Safety Executive to ensure there is a proper flow of information concerning the storage of hazardous materials to enable them to deal with possible fires and explosions.

Under section 1(1)(d) of the Fire Service Act 1947 fire authorities have a statutory responsibility for making arrangements for obtaining information required for fire fighting purposes about the fire risks in their area. I have no reason to believe that fire authorities are failing to take all reasonable steps to discharge this responsibility. However, additional means by which fire brigades might be made aware of the presence of hazardous substances, including those stored on industrial premises, are currently being examined by the Health and Safety Executive, in consultation with the Home Office and with the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council, on which fire authorities and the fire service staff associations are fully represented.