I have recently published Keeping Communities Safe (KCS) as national policy for the future direction of fire services in Ireland. KCS was developed by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management in my Department. The document was prepared through a collaborative process, which included consultation with stakeholders, and it was recommended for adoption as national policy by the Management Board of the Directorate.
It is important that there is a common understanding in relation to terminology in risk management, and relevant definitions are set out in KCS. In particular, the term “Risk Assessment” as used in KCS is one stage of the risk management process. The National Directorate prepared a series of Task Analyses to show how an initial crew of five may be used safely to undertake tasks normally associated with a range of fire scenarios. The Task Analysis for the Domestic Dwelling fire situation was circulated during the development stage.
Under Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work legislation, the phrase ‘risk assessment’ has a particular meaning, and requires employers to carry out risk assessments of their work activities. Guidance on relevant aspects of risk assessment for fire services, and meeting this legislative requirement, is provided in the Fire Services Ancillary Safety Statement (generic risk assessments), in the Fire Service National Incident Command System (dynamic risk assessments) and Fire Service Standard Operational Guidance (SOGs) (specific situational risk assessments). Individual fire services will prepare any additional risk assessments, based on the Task Analyses referred to above, which may be necessary to comply with their statutory responsibilities as employers on foot of changes arising from implementation of KCS. The KCS document is available on my Department’s web site at www.environ.ie.