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Freelance journalist and copywriter, Textual Healing

May 19, 2022

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The Video Surveillance Report 2022

Rebuilding public trust and influencing cultural change within the fire sector with Fire Aware

Julian Hall reports from the FPA’s InfoZone theatre at FIREX 2022 on a new fire industry initiative set up by Gavin Skelly, Fire Aware, which aims to get people in responsible positions to understand their roles when it comes to decisions affecting fire safety.

FPA-InfoZoneFIREX1-22After thirty years in construction, where he had a ringside seat of “the race to the bottom” in design and build, Gavin Kelly set up Fire Aware. He saw that there was a loss of public trust in those who have a duty to keep people safe, whether they are in construction, freeholders, landlords etc.

Fire Aware is Kelly’s effort to get people in responsible positions to understand their roles and the risks they might be taking if they ignore morality “put money before safety.”

Grenfell and the ongoing issues with cladding and the decisions around EWS1 have convinced Kelly of the need for a body like Fire Aware to promote the diligent and responsible contractors who do have “100% the right moral approach” across construction, the supply chain, developers, freeholders, in education and design.

The new body allows for a flow of free advice between member organisations, which range from “one man and a van to tier 1 national contractors.” Meanwhile, the initial membership fee charged is appropriate to the organisation size and it’s designed to be used to disseminate fire training and to help with grants for removal of cladding where the buildings concerned are outside of the Government’s criteria.

Fire Aware is primarily a third-party voice that aims to encourage businesses to make “incremental change” to their operations. Kelly argues that membership to Fire Aware would be a “USP” that will distinguish them from their competitors. Companies who have joined up with Fire Aware will have taken steps such as uploading their FRAs – measures that should inspire confidence in their customers.

Membership of Fire Aware is something that Kelly wants to monitor closely, with any failures on the part of members swiftly dealt with. If no improvements are made, membership will be revoked.

While recognising that Fire Aware wields no formal power, it already has anecdotal evidence of their influence. In one case the team dramatically hastened the response of a housing association in repairing a jammed ground floor flat window, after they pointed out that it was a potential fire escape route and needed to be working at all times. A repair that had been slated for months later happened in a matter of days.

Find out more about Fire Aware. 


2023 Fire Safety eBook – Grab your free copy!

Download the Fire Safety in 2023 eBook, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry. Chapters include important updates such as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and an overview of the new British Standard for the digital management of fire safety information.

Plus, we explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.


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