HC Deb 28 September 1939 vol 351 cc1478-9
56. Sir George Broadbridge

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that under the Civil Defence Act tenants, not landlords, of commercial buildings are under obligation to provide a night fire-watching party as well as at week-ends while their staffs number 30 or more, and that, as it is impossible for them to do this in addition to providing fire-guards during business hours, what steps he proposes to overcome this obligation which has proved difficult to work?

Sir J. Anderson

I think there is some misunderstanding. The Civil Defence Act does not require employers to provide fire-watching parties. The danger of fires from incendiary bombs is, however, so great that every possible step should be taken to prevent a small fire from spreading and becoming a serious conflagration; and as fires might occur at times when the staff employed in the building were not there, it is important that a few trained men should, at any rate in the more vulnerable areas, be on the premises always. I hope, therefore, that employers will co-operate with the fire brigade services by night as well as by day, not only for the protection of their own premises, but also for the benefit of the community.