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Chief Fire Officers Association: New law will save more lives say fire chiefs

9 July 2014

New figures which show that fire deaths and injuries are continuing to fall have been welcomed by Fire Chiefs who have called on the Government to help ensure the trends continue.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics last week showed that in 2013-14 there had been 5% fewer fire deaths in England than the previous year with a similar reduction in the number of injuries.

An official statement by Fire Minister Brandon Lewis praised the fire safety work carried out by fire and rescue services and said the safety standard for cigarettes introduced in November 2011 also appeared to have had an impact.

“These figures are excellent news but we know we can cut fire deaths and injuries even further if the Government simply enacts new laws making smoke alarms compulsory in all private rented homes”, said Mark Cashin, Chair of the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) Home Safety Committee.

The Energy Act, which received Royal Assent last December, included an amendment allowing the Government to bring in these new powers but a final decision has been delayed pending a review into the potential impact of the regulations.

“Like the safety standard for cigarettes, it is a simple change in legislation but it is one which will improve the safety of families and stop dozens of people from losing their lives to fire each year”, said Mr Cashin.

“And it is a change which has overwhelming support – from the public, from businesses and from landlords themselves. In a public survey 93% said they supported the legislation while a survey of businesses saw 91% in favour, while the National Landlords Association (NLA) and British Property Federation have also given their support.

“The cost to landlords is small, with a ten-year sealed alarm costing around £15. We recognise the Government’s aim of limiting regulation on businesses but we passionately believe this is a targeted and limited intervention that will help to maintain the positive trend in declining fire deaths in England.”