HC Deb 22 July 1974 vol 877 cc360-1W
Mr. Trotter

asked the Chairman of the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) what means could be used to indicate the outbreak of a fire within the Palace of Westminster; what steps are taken to advise Members and others of these means; how often fire drills are held; when the last such drill was held; and whether the drills include rehearsals of the evacuation of the building.

Mr. Bottomley

At present the telephone system is used to alert Security Control. An automatic fire alarm system is being installed in the Palace of Westminster at the moment.

Notices of the drill to be followed in the event of fire are displayed in the Palace of Westminster at fire positions. Fire fighting drills are held periodically for the custodian staff in conjunction with the London Fire Brigade. Local fire drills are also held for custodian staff, and these are arranged by the fire staff of the Palace of Westminster.

The last drill held with the London Fire Brigade was on 28th September 1973, and the next drill will be held on 5th September 1974. The last local drill was held on 14th July 1974.

With regard to a means of escape, everyone is advised in the fire notices to familiarise himself with alternative exit routes where available.

Mr. Trotter

asked the Chairman of the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) how many (a) rooms with fire notices, (b) notices indicating fire exits and (c) notices indicating the steps to be taken in the event of a fire there are in the Palace of Westminster.

Mr. Bottomley

Fire notices are not placed in rooms, but they are placed at fire positions.

The Palace of Westminster is fire certificated by the Factory Inspectorate as to means of escape in case of fire. This means that the routes of escape are suitably indicated with fire exit and directional signs. The number of these is not required by the fire authorities to be recorded. There are some 200 fire notices in the Palace of Westminster.

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