Thursday, 2 May 2013

Questions (153)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

153. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he is satisfied regarding the adequacy of structures of the fire services part-time and whole time throughout the country; if any particular weakness exists which might affect the ability of the services to respond in particular emergency situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20933/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The provision of fire services in a local authority area is a statutory function of individual fire authorities. Under Section 10 of the Fire Services Act 1981, a fire authority is required to make provision for the delivery of fire services in its functional area, including the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises. Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each county and city manager is responsible for the staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authority for which he or she is responsible. In addition, it is a reserved function of fire authorities to adopt fire and emergency operations plans indicating the provision made in respect of organisation, appliances, equipment, fire stations, training and operational procedures for the provision of a comprehensive fire service to the community. My Department supports fire authorities through setting of general policy, training support and issue of guidance on operational and other related matters, and the provision of capital funding.

My Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management has published a policy document, Keeping Communities Safe (KCS), which sets the future direction of fire services in Ireland. Inter alia, it sets out future service delivery structures and a system of national processes and standards for fire service delivery in Ireland based on a risk management approach to fire safety, which combines the important elements of fire prevention, protection and response.

The KCS policy document is available on my Department’s web site at www.environ.ie.