The Fire Industry Association (FIA) is continuously seeking further clarification from the Government's position on this issue after Boris Johnson's speech on Monday 23rd at 20:30. FIA CEO Ian Moore has been in discussions with the Home Office on this subject over the last few days.
FIA CEO Ian Moore says, “We have received hundreds of calls requesting clarification on what is meant by the Home Office statements. My first response is to be pragmatic about what you deem to be important under the title of Key Worker. Your health and the health of others is Key and the Government’s advice to cease travel as far as possible is the priority - this is why it is being discussed. Just because you work in the fire safety industry does not mean you are designated a Key Worker. It is also important to state that the FIA are not making any statements here and it is for you to interpret what the Government statement means when applied to you.”
Key worker status extended to fire safety personnel
UK Home Office has to confirm that fire risk assessment, fire alarm testing, service and repair is classed as 'essential' work"
He adds, “I do however, fully understand the need for clarity given the Prime Minister’s latest address on Monday 23rd March at 20:30 and the restrictions it implies. I have sought further clarification and asked the question “Can we get the Home Office to confirm that fire risk assessment, fire alarm testing, maintenance and repair is classed as “essential” work and that the requirements of the Fire Safety Order still apply?” and expressed the importance so employers can make informed decisions on manpower allocation. Michael Gove MP has just stated that "construction in the open air” is to continue, as long as the 2-metre rule is observed, which undoubtedly needs to have fire safety input at all stages. We will update this website and soon as we receive a response from the Home Office.”
“Security & fire safety personnel can play a vital role at this time of national challenge. People working in these sectors who are essential to national infrastructure are “Key Workers” for the purposes of the Government’s guidance on COVID-19.”, said James Brokenshire, Minister of State for Security at the Home Office.
Enhancing public fire safety
FIA CEO, Ian Moore has just been informed that James Brokenshire (Minister of State for Security at the Home Office) has extended the Key Worker status to all fire safety personnel actively working to improve public fire safety. Ian states “I hope this clarifies the position for our members which I know has been a major concern not only for the current position to do with the Coronavirus situation but also what could come next in the clampdown on unessential travel. A common-sense approach should be used on when to use the Key Worker status as there are many roles and situations that do not warrant its use.”
Should you need any further clarification then please ring the FIA offices (all lines are manned)"
Ian further said, “Should you need any further clarification then please ring the FIA offices (all lines are manned) and we will attempt to answer your questions. Once again thanks to the Home Office for listening to my concerns (on behalf of the fire safety industry) and reacting to it. I have been inundated with calls and emails looking for clarity on this vital subject for our industry.
Importance of fire rescue services
He adds, “Fire Engineers carry out a mission-critical job to not only fix but maintain fire systems and products such as extinguishers, fire alarms systems, etc. We have real first-hand knowledge and evidence of the dangerous and potentially deadly effects that a lack of maintenance on fire systems can lead to; I don’t have to mention the implications if we were to have a major fire incident as a result of the fire safety equipment not working correctly."
Ian concludes, "In addition, many of our members are the only suppliers to the fire and rescue services who need their equipment to do their job efficiently and safely. Maybe they are covered under the fire and rescue service “support staff” section of the Public Safety section - maybe clarification is required here? Nonetheless, the above statement is a good start, for which I thank the Home Office for clarification; however, the FIA will continue to push for recognition of fire safety-related workers as Key Workers in a number of other key areas to ensure we maintain public fire safety.”