The Department of Home Affairs is seeking the views of the public on proposals to modernise the Isle of Man’s fire and rescue service legislation.
The Fire and Rescue Service Bill 2013 is intended to replace primary legislation including the Fire Precautions Act, which dates back to 1975, and the Fire Services Act, which dates back to 1984.
A key feature of the proposed new Bill is an extension of the core functions of the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service.
This recognises that in addition to dealing with fires, the Service attends road traffic incidents, hazardous material incidents, flooding and other environmental emergencies. It also promotes community fire safety initiatives, as part of the Department’s focus on protecting local communities.
The proposed legislation would also see the Fire and Rescue Service take on primary responsibility for promoting fire safety in all relevant premises, including the workplace. This function is currently undertaken by health and safety inspectors.
Other proposed changes include a move away from the issuing of fire certificates to a risk-assessment approach to fire safety within premises – a measure that will help to reduce bureaucracy.
The new legislation would also give the Fire and Rescue Service the power to charge for non-statutory functions or call-outs due to malice or recklessness. There would continue to be no charge for genuine emergencies.
The Department of Home Affairs is consulting at an early stage in the development of the legislation in order to gain feedback from interested parties.
These views will be taken into consideration before the Bill is finalised and submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval to introduce into the branches of Tynwald.
Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘The Department is committed to promoting the Island as a safe place to live and do business. A key element of this vision involves equipping the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service with the legal powers to carry out the functions expected of it in the 21st Century.’
David Quirk MHK, Member of the Department with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, added: ‘This is an important piece of legislation designed to better reflect the role and responsibilities of a modern fire and rescue service. The promotion and enforcement of fire safety has changed a great deal over the past 30 years. I would encourage people to submit their views on the draft Bill, in particular by responding to the questions highlighted in the consultation document.’
The Fire and Rescue Service Bill 2013 consultation document and appendices are available to view on the Government website at http://www.gov.im/about-the-government/government/government-consultations/
People can respond via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Tom Bateman, Legislation Manager, Department of Home Affairs, Homefield, 88 Woodbourne Road, Douglas, IM2 3AP.
The closing date for the receipt of comments is Monday 10 March.