HC Deb 10 December 1986 vol 107 cc166-7W
Mr. Tom Cox

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how often a fire-fighting exercise takes place at each prison in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what is his policy towards the presence in each prison in the United Kingdom of a prison officer with special fire-fighting responsibilities; and if he will make a statement;

(3) whether fire-fighting equipment is kept in each wing of prisons in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Mellor

Governors of penal establishments in England and Wales nominate a prison officer known as the fire officer to be responsible to them for all fire matters. Arrangements are made for him to receive training as necessary with the local fire brigade. It is the fire officer's duty to familiarise himself with the fire precautions in force at the establishment and to develop such fire precautions as are considered necessary. He also trains other prison officers in the use of fire-fighting equipment.

Subject to any overriding security or control considerations a full fire pratice, which include a drill with fire-fighting equipment, should be held at least every six months. Where practicable, the exercises also includes the evacuation of selected buildings and calling the local fire brigade. Fire fighting equipment is located according to advice given by local fire authorities, which would normally result in equipment being placed in each prison wing.

Responsibility for penal establishments in Scotland and Northern Ireland rests with my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.