Questions Arise Over Building Safety Inspections Conducted by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

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Allegations of insufficient training and a notable dip in morale have surfaced within the protection department of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), according to an insider speaking to the Manchester Evening News. The claims suggest that certain staff members are carrying out building safety inspections without the necessary training, raising concerns about compliance with national guidelines.

GMFRS vehemently denies these allegations, asserting that inspections adhere to high standards outlined in national guidance. Despite the denial, reports indicate an alleged decline in morale within the protection department, with claims of staff taking sick leave due to stress and a notable number of resignations in recent months.

According to the source, some officers within the protection department feel ill-equipped to assess safety and regulations in certain buildings, leading to mental health issues among staff. The claimant contends that despite expressing concerns to higher authorities, no concrete action has been taken to address the situation.

In response to the allegations, GMFRS has outlined a series of measures aimed at addressing the concerns raised. These include the establishment of a new training suite, an augmentation in the number of inspection staff, refresher training sessions, and improvements to policies and guidance surrounding site-specific risks. The fire service’s leadership, under the newly-appointed Director of Prevention and Protection, Carlos Meakin, has also pledged to foster a positive and open environment within the organization.

GMFRS maintains that it is dedicated to ensuring the safety of residents and businesses across Greater Manchester. The fire service argues that comprehensive plans for the development and competency of Fire Safety Regulators have been implemented following consultations with staff. These plans encompass investments in training facilities, increased staffing levels, and improvements to policies and guidance to meet evolving risks and changes in legislation.

The fire service spokesperson emphasized that staff undertaking inspections receive training in accordance with national guidance on fire safety and risk. Any suggestion that inspections do not meet the required standards has been firmly rejected by GMFRS.

In addition to addressing training and competency concerns, GMFRS underscored the importance of cultivating a positive organizational culture. The fire service encourages all colleagues to voice their concerns and pledges to take such concerns seriously, with a commitment to appropriate action when necessary.

Over the past year, fire safety teams across the north-west, in collaboration with councils, housing associations, and managing agents, have worked to ensure compliance with new laws and to enhance resident safety. GMFRS highlighted that, within Greater Manchester, there are over 650 high-rise residential buildings, with numerous others under construction or in planning stages.

The fire service, cognizant of the post-Grenfell landscape, is collaborating with fire and rescue services across the north-west to improve fire safety in high-rise residential buildings. Director of Prevention and Protection Carlos Meakin affirmed the importance of a regional approach to high-rise building safety, aiming to provide consistent information and support to those responsible for fire safety in these structures.

As the situation unfolds, GMFRS remains committed to addressing the concerns raised within the protection department and ensuring the highest standards of safety and compliance in building inspections. The organization, under new leadership, seeks to reaffirm its dedication to an open and positive working environment while continually adapting to evolving risks and legislative frameworks.

Lauren Redford
Lauren Redford
Journalist Lauren Redford is a seasoned business journalist who focuses on regional areas throughout the United Kingdom. With her expertise and dedication, Lauren brings insightful coverage of local communities and their economic landscapes. With a meticulous approach and a passion for storytelling, she uncovers stories that resonate with readers and offers a deeper understanding of the business world. Lauren's commitment to delivering accurate and engaging news makes her a valuable member of the News Write Ups team.

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