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Firefighters forced to ignore new law on interlinked alarms due to supply shortage

New smoke alarm rules came into force recently.
New smoke alarm rules came into force recently.

Firefighters have been forced to ignore new safety rules on interlinked fire alarms because of a national supply shortage.

A new law introduced earlier this month means families must install linked detectors in kitchens, rooms they use regularly, and on each floor of their house.

But a senior fire chief has warned crew members are being left with no choice but to give some people individual alarms since there is a lack of available stock.

Ministers previously said there would be no punishment for anyone failing to meet the deadline as huge numbers of Scots were expected to fall foul of the new rules.

Firefighters were forced to install old smoke alarms.

Opposition parties claim this latest revelation shows the government “completely botched” the new safety scheme, as they branded the shortage a “shambles”.

‘Below required levels’

Alasdair Perry, head of protection and prevention for the fire service said: “Due to global supply chain issues, the number of linked heat and smoke detectors available to our service has fallen below required levels.

“However, we are working to identify and procure additional detectors through alternative routes as a priority.

“If we go to any property that has no detection, we will carry out a full home fire safety visit, provide battery-operated stand-alone smoke detection and also ensure to advise the occupant about the new standard for the fire and smoke alarms.”

‘Shambles’

Labour housing spokesman Mark Griffin said: “This astonishing revelation exposes what a shambles the SNP have created.

“It is a sign of total chaos that the fire brigade can’t meet the fire safety standards the SNP have dropped on us all, with minimal preparation or support.

“The SNP have completely botched these changes and missed an opportunity to improve safety in our homes.”

‘Nothing but abysmal’

Lib Dem housing spokesman Paul McGarry said: “The Scottish Government have left Scottish Fire and Rescue up a creek without a paddle.

“This rollout will be remembered as one of the worst ever conducted.

“From the lack of support to homeowners to the seemingly non-existent communication to the public, everything about it has been nothing but abysmal.”

Last month it was confirmed more funding would be made available for members of the public who could struggle to comply with the rules.

A spokesperson for the government said: “Scottish Government officials are in regular contact with SFRS colleagues and aware of the challenges with the supply of alarms from some manufacturers who are reliant on imported components.

“Whilst homeowners are encouraged to install interlinked alarms at the earliest opportunity, the legislation provides flexibility for work to be completed within a reasonable period, taking into account individual circumstances.

“People who own their homes are generally responsible for works to protect their property. The Scottish Government recognises that some may not be able to meet the cost of fitting these alarms.”

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