I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 and 190 together.
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Acts, 1981 and 2003. My Department supports the fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding for equipment and priority infrastructural projects.
Dublin City Council provides fire prevention and fire and rescue services for the four Dublin local authorities: Dublin City, South Dublin, Fingal and Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Councils. The management of resources, equipment and the number and type of fire appliances is a matter for the City Council based on their assessment of local needs and requirements. Continued investment in the national fleet is one of the key priorities for my Department's Fire Services Capital Programme.
Dublin City Council was allocated four new “Class B” fire appliances in the latest Appliance Procurement Programme at an approximate cost of €1.9m. Dublin City Council was also grant-aided to procure three new “Class B” fire appliances in both the 2015 and 2017 Programmes. Continued investment in the fire appliance fleet is one of the key national priorities for the Fire Services Capital Programme.
My Department works with fire services in Dublin in relation to their priority projects. In July 2019, Dublin City Council was approved to purchase a new turntable ladder/ aerial appliance at a cost of €800,000 plus VAT, delivery of which is due later this year. In September 2021, the Council requested approval for the purchase of a new turntable ladder at a cost of €850,000. This application is under consideration in my Department and is likely to be approved in the immediate future. Fire appliances are acquired through a competitive tendering process.
The management, disposition and deployment of its appliance fleet is a matter for the officers of Dublin Fire Brigade. I understand that Dublin Fire Brigade's fleet of aerial appliances consists of two turntable ladders based at Dublin Fire Brigade Headquarters in Tara Street, and a hydraulic platform based at Dún Laoghaire Fire Station, all of which can be deployed rapidly to anywhere in the functional area of the four local authorities.
The appropriate fire safety measures, including facilities to assist fire service response, in any building are based on the scale, density and height of the building and are set out in national Building Regulations and associated Technical Guidance and Codes of Practice. The Fire Safety Task Force established in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, in its report of May 2018, states “The key to life safety in all apartment buildings is a proper two-stage fire detection and alarm system, together with an evacuation strategy…”. The primary statutory responsibility for ensuring the safety of persons using any building rests with the persons having control of those buildings. The design and construction of buildings in the first instance, including inbuilt fire safety features such as building layout, means of escape and fire resistance are critical for protecting persons from fire. Safety features, such as fire detection and alarm systems, support safe evacuation of occupants and the containment of fires.
In relation to fighting fires in high-rise buildings, my Department has issued guidance entitled “Fighting Fires in High-Rise Buildings”. This was part of a suite of 47 Standard Operational Guidance (SOG) documents developed between 2010 and 2012 by fire service personnel and issued by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management.