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Fire Safety Complaints


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Im interested to hear what other FRSs do in the event of a fire safety complaint being made by a member of the public. 

As an example, a member of the public comes to the station and complains that either her workplace or a shop she has been to has the fire exits either blocked or locked. What do you do? Do you investigate yourself and then involve your fire safety team or do you pass it straight onto your fire safety team to visit. 

In GMFRS we would more than likely pop round and have a look. If there was a risk to life, I would be expected to remain in attendance and ensure a fire safety officer was on route. If the breach is not too serious, I could explain the reason for the visit and ask the premise to fix the issue and call back. 

There are a lot of scenarios, but Im interested to hear any examples you have had to deal with and how. I think it would also help other members realise what they can and cant do, should they encounter an issue ;)

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Carl, in the scenario you have used, exactly the same for us, local crews visit and "enlighten" the occupants with a return visit if required. Obviously if the owner will not comply then a fire safety officer will be mobilised to consider any enforcement action.

Recently we get more calls where illegal work practices are called in, we will work with the other enforcement agencies as we are often able to gain access to clarify evidence whilst still performing our fire safety role, where they are refused or under staffed to investigate ...generally (not always )there will be fire safety breaches where illegal work practices are in use.

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Almost the same. If it comes in to the local station then they will attend and request advice from a Senior FSO or the local FS team during the day. If it comes in via 999, (as they do) or via any other non ops based department such as switchboard or area HQ it will generally be routed to control who will page the nearest SFSO. As an SFSO, I get a few of these. I will always send the local station to have a look and get them to call me once on scene to tell me what they think and talk me through it. Most of the time, I'll get them to do a station notification to that Borough's FS team, but if its out of hours and hits the prohibition potential I'll go myself to have a look. I'd say 95% are dealt with by crews and the local team, but I have had some shockers that have ended up in A31 prohibitions that suck the life out of me.

Generally, with the housing crisis what it is in London, we try hard to avoid prohibition from sleeping accomodation (which most are) as then generally ends up with people going into B&B and open to a host of other risks. Sometimes partial prohibition can't be avoided (the 18 beds in 3 basement rooms beneath a chinese takeaway with a single escape stair to the kitchen as an example). But we can and do work with the local authorities to get the RP to spend a couple of hours mitigating (removing stuff from exit routes, fixing detection systems, reparing compartmentation breaches etc) as you'll be surprised how willing they can be to spend a couple of hundred to get a contractor in if it looks like we are going to cut off the £1000's they receive for the hovels then rent out down here.

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15 hours ago, Steve said:

....... but I have had some shockers that have ended up in A31 prohibitions that suck the life out of me.

10/10 Steve for even getting to issue a Prohibition. Notwithstanding the issue related to housing you referred to, I really do think the LFB should be tougher. There seems to be a huge reluctance by some to drag an Area Manager off the golf course and dish a few more Prohibition Notices out. I am not sure if its because they are somewhat over complicated to issue or whether there's political reasons:

I once discovered a 6 storey single staircase hotel where an office had been built on a within the staircase between the ground and first floors. The electrical installation was shoddy and the alternative escape route that involved a fold down ladder and a complex route over the roof and through an adjacent premises was no longer viable - as the neighbours had locked their rooftop door. I called my boss out as IMO the prohibition threshold had clearly been breached. He decided an enforcement notice rather than prohibition. This meant that the LFB were content that paying guests would be sleeping on the top floors of this dangerous building for at least 28 days before any action would be taken!

Another day, another ADO and another shocking hotel which had an alternative via a steel balcony, then via a unlocked window into the bathroom of a neighbouring flat which was not part of the hotel!!!! I needed to walk this curious route and discovered - rather dramatically - the steel balcony wasn't fit for purpose as it partly collapsed when me and tow others were on it! Again, called my ADO and he entered into an agreement with the dodgy lying hotelier that the top floor wouldn't be used. I went back in 3 weeks to find - yep you have guessed it - 2 families in these rooms. Still no prohibition - just a stern talking to

Frustrating or what?!!

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  • 8 months later...

If a Fire Safety complaint came into Oxfordshire, it would be passed straight to the the fire safety manager for that area. The manager would then get an hour to put into place some kind of action i.e. nominate a fire safety officer to attend site. The urgency of that visit would depend on the nature of the complaint etc. Ops crews wouldn't normally get involved with any complaint given directly to them. 

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