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Fire Services: Standards

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will introduce nationwide standardisation of fire service operational procedures. (295740)

The Government have produced operational guidance for use by fire and rescue services (FRSs) for over 60 years.

The guidance identifies generic risks associated with resolving fire and other operational incidents. However it is for each fire and rescue authority as the employer to utilise the guidance as it sees fit and to ensure safe systems of work for each risk to which its employees are likely to be exposed.

The use of the guidance and the specialist nature of FRSs’ work mean that there is a significant similarity in the operational procedures employed by FRSs in England. This is especially the case in safety critical activity such as incident command, control of the use of breathing apparatus and radio communications.

In some specialist functions of FRS activity, such as the Government’s urban search and rescue provision, it is expected that teams from across the UK will work together to resolve events. In such cases the guidance is more prescriptive to ensure interoperability.