London Fire Brigade to boost number of fire safety advisers

London Fire Brigade is to recruit 40 fire safety advisers to bolster its fire protection activities in the capital.

The Brigade currently has just 24 fire safety advisers and nearly 200 Inspecting Officers, but with the pressure to inspect high-rise buildings, it must increase its workforce.

The Brigade will use part of the £9.4 million it received from the Home Office to improve its fire protection activities. It has already used some of this funding to create a Building Risk Review team to review the 8,000 high-rise residential blocks in London. This work is due to be completed by December this year.

Some of the new posts agreed by London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe last week will be permanent and others temporary, as the Brigade looks for 36 fire safety advisers and four admin support staff. The Brigade said that there is considerable interest in these entry level roles, with over 100 applicants each time a recruitment round has been advertised. The applicants come from diverse backgrounds and experience.

The total cost of employing 40 new staff for three years is £1.7 million, which is entirely covered by the Home Office grant.

As new entrants to the profession, fire safety advisers face a training period of six months and it can then take a further year to reach the level of Inspecting Officer.  The Brigade said that with current levels of staff turnover, 15 Inspecting Officer roles become vacant each year. Out of the 199 Inspecting Officer roles in London, 156 are currently filled.

The Brigade has used the grant funding to create a Centre of Learning and Excellence, a bespoke training centre to ensure they have the best people trained to the levels set out in the NFCC joint Competency Framework.

Money has also been used to set up the Building Design and Consultation Hub, a new function of fire engineering in the Brigade where all aspects of the building consultation process are brought under one roof to ensure a consistently high standard of advice and guidance to address risk in the built environment.