Fire

Wales leads the way on fire commitment: describing arson as "one of the most serious threats we face" Welsh Assembly Minister for Fire Mrs Edwina Hart recently recently announced the Welsh Assembly's 5m[pounds sterling] investment in providing arson reduction teams in every brigade throughout Wales, asserting that the Welsh Assembly has placed "fire safety on an equal footing with road safety".(Wales fire 2004)

Commenting on the forthcoming devolution of responsibility for fire in Wales to the Welsh Assembly, Mrs Hart stated that while the Assembly welcomes the devolution, it is keen to continue with existing national arrangements: "It is important to maintain national pay bargaining". Looking to the post-devolution Welsh approach she emphasised that the Assembly's approach will be just that a Welsh approach. "We don't just want to mirror the English Fire Service ... we have Welsh problems to which we will find Welsh solutions." To this end, she announced that a national framework for the Fire Service in Wales will be published shortly.

Shortly after outlining the Welsh Assembly's safety goals, Edwina Hart attended the FBU's launch of its Zero Fire Deaths campaign, releasing 587 balloons into the afternoon skies--a balloon for each person who died in a fire in the 12 months to June 2003 The FBU General Secretary praised the Welsh Assembly's proactive and committed approach to fire safety as he introduced the union's vision for zero fire deaths to the Welsh people, noting that: "the Welsh Assembly has already stated its intention to set far more robust and far more challenging targets for Welsh fire and rescue authorities than the Westminster government is proposing for life services in England. …

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