The SDC have made a decision regarding fire precautions in Sheltered communities communal areas. They have decided to remove ALL fire extinguishers from all communal areas. This, we believe, followed an event at Dryleaze Court, instigated by the council and involving the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. The property was devoid of all tenants but did have some furniture in the corridors.
The venture at Dryleaze Court was called a “Fire Precaution Risk Assessment” and was the responsibility of the Council. It followed a new fire precaution regulation Act of Parliament back in 2006. Their reasoning was that elderly and infirm residents would be unable to use the fire extinguishers and may do more harm than good. However, there are a number of issues which had been overlooked:
1) The Installation of fire extinguishers had been the law for over 100 years.
2) Within all communities there are a mix of old and infirm but they are balanced with a new group of younger, fitter residents who may have been relocated to make the sites more in keeping with a ‘General Needs, regime.
3) Up until 3 years ago each site had a resident site warden, but thanks to the austerity cost cutting council measures these wardens were removed.
4) There have been a few fires over the recent past but NONE were in the Communal areas but in the tenants homes where no extinguishers are located.
5) The cost of fire extinguishers to SDC would be north of £30k or 60% of one of their managers annual salary.
6) The Fire and Rescue Service are impartial on the council decision but that may change when they are called out for numerous “Minor” fires which a quick squirt from a fire extinguisher would cover.
Although we cannot provide any proof the impression obtained from the Council management was that their decision was a matter of national legislation not their choice.