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Firefighters' union recommends random high rise checks

Buildings across Scotland 'should be subject to inspections' in the wake of Grenfell.

Grenfell: Tragedy has led to review of fire safety across Scotland.
Grenfell: Tragedy has led to review of fire safety across Scotland. ITV News

High-rise flats across Scotland should be subject to random thorough inspections of fire precautions in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the union representing firefighters has said.

The exercise would shed light on the extent of failures in fire safety and allow improvements to be made, according to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Scotland.

The organisation made the call in a written submission to Holyrood's local government Committee, which is examining the safety of high-rise tower blocks.

At least 80 people are thought to have died in the Grenfell Tower fire in June, with the combustible cladding on the London block believed to have fuelled the blaze.

The union said the London Fire Brigade's "thorough intrusive inspections" of fire precautions on all clad high-rise residential blocks in the capital had revealed "some serious failures of fire safety".

Its written submission said: "It is almost certainly true that the same problems exist in high rise residential blocks that are not clad, and ... in buildings that are not high-rise and residential.

"The question is, is the same true for buildings in Scotland?"

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1397306-smoke-alarm-consultation-brought-forward-after-grenfell/ | default

It continued: "So far, groups such as the ministerial working group (set up by the Scottish Government) have only considered the very narrow issue of combustible cladding as a risk that has been highlighted by Grenfell Tower.

"But the FBU would like this committee to consider the wider issues that have been illuminated in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"The conclusion that we can draw from London's experience is that fire risk assessments of high-rise domestic buildings could be very poor indeed, but unless we carry out some thorough intrusive inspections of our own, we won't know the scale of the problem and we won't know how to make improvements."

The FBU suggested tasking a team of fire safety enforcement officers to sample high rise domestic buildings across Scotland at random and carry out inspections of the fire precautions.

Commenting on the committee's inquiry, convener Bob Doris said: "Whilst the public inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower is ongoing, in Scotland those who live, work or study in high-rises are understandably seeking reassurances about the safety of those buildings.

"We welcome that reassurances have been forthcoming, however it is important that our committee provides an additional layer of scrutiny to this evidence."

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