Thursday, August 28, 2008

Let's Be Like Europe: And ban fire extinguishers

This one is several months old, but is one of my favorites from Nanny Knows Best, chronicling the folly of creating a Progressive State in England wherein the government has the power to use force to DO GOOD.

And the good they're doing? Banning fire extinguishers because you might try to use them (so help me) to put out fires:

It transpires that those appliances that you and I assume are there to help us fight fires, fire extinguishers, are a clear and present danger to our health and safety.

That at least is the view of Nanny's chums in Hamilton Townsend, managing agents for a block of flats in Bournemouth.

A risk assessment (pass the sick bag) was recently carried at Avon House and Admirals Walk by a buildings risk assessor, these people make a very nice living on the back on Nanny's rules and regulations (under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 the managing agents of every private block of flats must hire professional assessors to carry out a risk assessment).

The risk assessor recommended that the fire extinguishers be removed, as they are dangerous.

Eh?

Seemingly these extinguishers may delay householders from escaping a blaze, and may be dangerous if they are used by untrained people....ah...an opportunity for some wide boy to charge us money to "train" us to use these things!

Rather bizarrely this report has the support of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, to the extent that extinguishers have already been removed from the two blocks.

The hapless residents of Admirals Walk were informed in a letter from their managing agents that:

"unless all residents are trained to operate the fire extinguishers, there is no legal requirement to maintain these in communal areas of residential blocks".


Pete Whittaker, the protection policy manager at Dorset Fire and Rescue, said:

"As part of the assessment, the assessors now look to see whether fire extinguishers are actually required in that particular block. In some cases, they are no longer needed and provide more of a hazard being there.

We do not want to encourage people to leave their flat to fetch a fire extinguisher from a hallway and then return to a blaze. We want people to get out safely.

Obviously in some cases, an extinguisher could come in useful in a communal area but with new building regulations, every escape route should be completely fireproof. It very much depends on the individual property and what the assessor believes is the correct course of action."


Yeah, this is exactly the kind of empowered government we need to bring to America.

[The scary part is that if you check back here in a couple of months, some twit will actually have left a comment gently explaining to me that the British authorities are correct: average citizens shouldn't try to use complex equipment in dangerous situations--or run with scissors.]

1 comment:

Martha said...

I think this is an exceptional case. Obviouslly in a tower black there will be lots of occupants looking to get out quickly at the same time and this in itself could provide a healthy and safety issue in making their way passed the Fire Extinguishers. Indeed the presence of a sprinkler system (as in offices) will also negate to some extent the need for fire extinguishers.