New building safety reforms are ready to change the way Fire Service’ keep you safe

After the tragic incidents at Grenfell Tower almost seven years ago, an inquiry was set up to ensure that it never happens again.

Out of that inquiry, a number of new Regulations have been introduced to ensure the safety of all existing and new High-rise Residential Buildings.

A new Department has been created in Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) to inspect the North East Region to keep the people who live in high-rise residential buildings safe in their homes.

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) Department, is funded by the Home Office to ensure new and existing high-rise buildings are fit for purpose.

The Department will oversee the North East Region including Northumberland, Cleveland and County Durham and Darlington.

The TWFRS BSR Department has a Regional Manager, three Inspectors and a Fire Engineer to implement the new inspection programme.

The Head of BSR Department and Regional Manager, Group Manager Kenneth Reed, recently joined TWFRS from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service after 21 years as a firefighter.

The father-of-two was looking for a new challenge that would see him shape the way fire safety regulations are met and to help improve the lives of people across the country.

The 46-year-old is excited to get started in his new role with his Team and the BSR and is ready to take on the challenge.

He said “We will be involved with builders from the start, making sure they are complying with the regulations and making sure their buildings are safe.

“We will be working together with existing buildings and new applications to help make positive changes to ensure all of these buildings comply with the new regulations.

“This is a new role with new departments in fire services in England, it’s great to be a part of something that will shape the future of fire safety across the country.

“Education will be important and we will be working closely with other fire and rescue services to share knowledge and experience to ensure you are safe in your home.

Area Manager for Community Safety at TWFRS Paul Russell has today (Tuesday) welcomed the arrival of the new department to the Service.

He said “There is a lot of change happening in the Service and we are really pushing forward so it’s great to have this opportunity to shape how these new regulations will shape building safety in England.

“The BSR team will spend so much time in our community making sure their homes are as safe as they can be.

“The nature of the department means they will be working with Fire and Rescue Service’s up and down the country, sharing knowledge and drawing on different experience.

“Although many of these changes have come from such tragic circumstances, we are working hard to ensure that something of this nature never happens again.”

The new fire safety regulations that came in in January now requires building management to provide Fire and Rescue Services with more information that will assist them in response to an emergency at the building.

That includes information about the building cladding, the layouts of properties and any ongoing faults to fire safety features.

These changes named Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 have been introduced alongside with the changes introduced under the Fire Safety Act 2021.

Further changes that will improve fire safety are still to come following the Building Safety Act 2022.

For more information on the new regulations, please visit the TWFRS website