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FIRE DISPUTE: RAISE LEVEL OF DEBATE, PLEADS CHIEF FIRE OFFICER

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Des Prichard, chief fire officer, East Sussex Brigade, wrote to the editor of The Observer (p30), saying:...
Des Prichard, chief fire officer, East Sussex Brigade, wrote to the editor of The Observer (p30), saying:

'As a chief fire officer, I am constantly having to juggle a budget based almost entirely on attendance at fire calls when, in reality, this accounts for only one-third of our operational workload. In addition, the proactive work of the fire service - including educating young people, working with youth offending teams, partnerships with the Prince's Trust, and our legal responsibilities under the Fire Precautions Act 1971, and the Workplace Regulations - places a considerable strain on our resources.

'My plea is that your reporting on this matter becomes more credible and accurate. It is absolutely crucial that the level of debate is raised. If you really wanted to consider how society can be made safer and lives saved, ask ministers why they have not legislated for residential sprinklers. It is a travesty that this nation proposes to build over one million new houses by 2012, homes in which, unfortunately, there will be accidental fires, with consequential injuries and deaths (costs that will be borne by the health and social services), all of which could be prevented if this government had the foresight to ensure an appropriate amendment to building regulations'.
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