Fire Industry Association (FIA) chief executive officer Ian Moore enquired about the status of fire safety personnel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with such personnel now named key workers.
Fire safety personnel named key workers
30 March 2020
The FIA reported on the work done by Mr Moore in ‘discussions’ with the Home Office to try and understand whether fire safety personnel were key workers or not, and thus able to access the same exceptions with regard to the nationwide lockdown. Mr Moore reported that Security Minister James Brokenshire had responded to the enquiry, after he had sought clarity on the situation.
Mr Brokenshire stated that both security and fire safety personnel ‘can play a vital role at this time of national challenge’, adding that ‘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’. Mr Moore later noted that this had been extended to ‘all fire safety personnel actively working to improve public fire safety’.
He added: ‘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.
‘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.’
Mr Moore concluded: ‘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. 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.’