Fire safety checks hit record low in England

Fire services conduct fire safety checks (audits) on most public buildings and the shared areas of residential properties such as flats to make sure they are in line with safety laws.

For instance, Dorset and Wiltshire firefighters carried out nearly 1,000 fewer safety checks on buildings last year compared with a decade ago, new figures reveal.

In addition, Home Office data shows Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service completed 427 fire safety audits on buildings in 2019-20. This was 1,133 fewer than the 1,560 inspections recorded in 2010-11, when comparable records began. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service completed 1,418 fire safety audits on buildings in 2019-20. This was the lowest number of inspections since comparable records began in 2010-11.

Consequently, Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said: “The Grenfell Tower fire exposed the shameful state of building safety in the UK. The scale of the building safety crisis is beyond all current comprehension – and firefighters have a crucial role to play in tackling it.” Mr Wrack said the union supports the Government’s new bills on fire safety and building safety, which aim to expand firefighters’ prevention and protection work, but added: “To be effective, the fire and rescue service must be properly funded.”