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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Beside the Thames
    Posts
    129

    Default EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    Spotted this in narrow boat world.

    Greater risk for Thames lock users,

    http://www.narrowboatworld.com/index...mes-lock-users
    Tellin' it like it is!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Beside the Thames
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    Here is the letter that NABO has written to Sir Phillip Dilly

    NABO has written to Sir Philip Dilley, Chairman of Environment Agency expressing its concern on the safety impact of proposed changes on Thames lock operations.

    "Dear Sir Philip

    NABO, the National Association of Boat Owners, is dedicated to promoting the interests of private boaters on Britain's canals and rivers. (see www.nabo.org.uk).

    Our organisation is well-represented on the rivers, especially the Thames, where members now have some serious concerns about the impact of budget cuts on the operations of the Navigational Authority for the river, the Environment Agency.

    We have been advised that there are two areas of policy change which, if true, would be of specific concern to us.

    1. We understand that it is proposed that lock and weir keepers should no longer attempt to fight any boat fires in or near their lock. We have also been advised that the existing fire extinguishers available at the lock-side for use in such circumstances are to be removed and replaced with a single 1-kilo unit that would be inadequate to help put out a fire in a boat. Presumably, now, in the event of a fire the lock and weir keepers are expected to call the emergency services and wait?

    May we ask you to visualise an accident in an empty lock where a boat catches fire? Indeed – as you will be aware –there have been far too many examples over the past few years of just such incidents. When a boat is burning, especially in a lock, the chances of the fire being passed on to other boats is very high. As most of these fires are related to the petrol held on most river-cruising boats, the Boat Safely Scheme has paid particular attention to this issue and recently released additional advice on preventing such occurrences, but we cannot be complacent that these measures would eliminate boat fires in all cases. Past experience suggests that delays caused by waiting for the emergency services could considerably exceed the national average target of 10 minutes, whereas rapid action to hold back a fire could well ensure that lives could be saved.

    2. Lock-side portable ladders, used for extracting boaters who have fallen into a lock when it is “empty” or at its low level status, are to be eliminated – we believe – because they are “too heavy”! Despite their weight, for 40 years they have still allowed endangered boaters to climb out of a frightening environment. However, if someone does fall in in the future, presumably again the new instruction is to call the emergency services? Another 10-minute-plus delay for a child/OAP immersed in a cold water chamber with slimy walls, especially in freezing cold water, would be likely to result in deaths. Much lighter modern alternatives to the heavy ladders could and should be made available.

    Clearly, the changes that we understand are being proposed would potentially make bad situations worse. If introduced, they could result in serious injury or fatalities, and might also expose the Environment Agency to potential legal action.

    Can we please ask you to confirm or deny whether the above changes are being seriously considered? If they are, we earnestly request that you review them again from a “health and safety”, as opposed to a financial, perspective. We would also urge your navigational colleagues to consult closely with those who are at the forefront of the use of the rivers, i.e., the boating community. Our organisation is always willing to act as conduit to ensure that such communications are as effective as possible.

    Yours faithfully
    Dr Mike Rodd FIET CEng
    Chairman, National Association of Boat Owners"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Berkshire
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Riverleak View Post
    Here is the letter that NABO has written to Sir Phillip Dilly

    NABO has written to Sir Philip Dilley, Chairman of Environment Agency expressing its concern on the safety impact of proposed changes on Thames lock operations.

    "Dear Sir Philip

    NABO, the National Association of Boat Owners, is dedicated to promoting the interests of private boaters on Britain's canals and rivers. (see www.nabo.org.uk).

    Our organisation is well-represented on the rivers, especially the Thames, where members now have some serious concerns about the impact of budget cuts on the operations of the Navigational Authority for the river, the Environment Agency.

    We have been advised that there are two areas of policy change which, if true, would be of specific concern to us.

    1. We understand that it is proposed that lock and weir keepers should no longer attempt to fight any boat fires in or near their lock. We have also been advised that the existing fire extinguishers available at the lock-side for use in such circumstances are to be removed and replaced with a single 1-kilo unit that would be inadequate to help put out a fire in a boat. Presumably, now, in the event of a fire the lock and weir keepers are expected to call the emergency services and wait?

    May we ask you to visualise an accident in an empty lock where a boat catches fire? Indeed – as you will be aware –there have been far too many examples over the past few years of just such incidents. When a boat is burning, especially in a lock, the chances of the fire being passed on to other boats is very high. As most of these fires are related to the petrol held on most river-cruising boats, the Boat Safely Scheme has paid particular attention to this issue and recently released additional advice on preventing such occurrences, but we cannot be complacent that these measures would eliminate boat fires in all cases. Past experience suggests that delays caused by waiting for the emergency services could considerably exceed the national average target of 10 minutes, whereas rapid action to hold back a fire could well ensure that lives could be saved.

    2. Lock-side portable ladders, used for extracting boaters who have fallen into a lock when it is “empty” or at its low level status, are to be eliminated – we believe – because they are “too heavy”! Despite their weight, for 40 years they have still allowed endangered boaters to climb out of a frightening environment. However, if someone does fall in in the future, presumably again the new instruction is to call the emergency services? Another 10-minute-plus delay for a child/OAP immersed in a cold water chamber with slimy walls, especially in freezing cold water, would be likely to result in deaths. Much lighter modern alternatives to the heavy ladders could and should be made available.

    Clearly, the changes that we understand are being proposed would potentially make bad situations worse. If introduced, they could result in serious injury or fatalities, and might also expose the Environment Agency to potential legal action.

    Can we please ask you to confirm or deny whether the above changes are being seriously considered? If they are, we earnestly request that you review them again from a “health and safety”, as opposed to a financial, perspective. We would also urge your navigational colleagues to consult closely with those who are at the forefront of the use of the rivers, i.e., the boating community. Our organisation is always willing to act as conduit to ensure that such communications are as effective as possible.

    Yours faithfully
    Dr Mike Rodd FIET CEng
    Chairman, National Association of Boat Owners"
    I highlighted the ladder situation on the TMBA Facebook site on the 29 Sepember, I was not aware about the fire extinguishers. Well put and I will look forward to seeing the reply. Keep the pressure on.
    Last edited by Big John; 07-10-15 at 19:08.
    The Zen Master said "we'll see"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cornwall & Solentish
    Posts
    13,713

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    No doubt the rationale for the extinguishers will be staff are not trained / otherwise equipped to tackle fires, so removing the extinguisher removes the risk of them trying to do so. Kafka-esque indeed, but the same theory that saw the removal of FEs from police vehicles, offices, etc.

    Yes, there may be more cremated boaters, but they aren't employees so that doesn't matter
    Western Solent's Lifeboat -.http://solent-rescue.org.uk/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Oxfordshire
    Posts
    1,767

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    The problem with that is that if someone is stuck on a burning boat, the lockie will more than likely still try to help but now without the protection of an extinguisher.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Just a few cables from Boulters Lock
    Posts
    12,534

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    NABO is not the only user group concerned about this - the matter was raised at the recent TNUF meeting at Reading and we are trying to ascertain the exact position. As far as I am aware the party line is that it is "under review".
    TMBA - Championing the non tidal Thames

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Teddington
    Posts
    8,766

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    I can only think of one lock on the Thames where the lockie wouldn't be the first person to help

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Medway
    Posts
    19,212

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    Tough call for the lockie.
    Personal view.If all crew have been evacuated from craft irrespective of its location, no lives were in danger or injuries likely to be avoided by intervention,would let the thing burn,no matter how many boats involved.
    Lives are far more important than your pride and joy.
    Leave it to the professionals,can just imagine a gas cylinder going off and ruining somebody elses day,simply because of some boat owner putting pressure on the lockie to "do something"
    Time for somebody to pipe up about H & S and abolishing the nanny state BSC, come on..... you know you want to
    Last edited by oldgit; 08-10-15 at 07:07.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Just a few cables from Boulters Lock
    Posts
    12,534

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    No-one has mentioned that powered craft carry their own fire extinguishers which will be more instantly accessible to those on board.
    TMBA - Championing the non tidal Thames

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Oxfordshire
    Posts
    1,767

    Default Re: EA to remove lockside safety ladders and fire extinguishers

    But then you have hire boats to consider. Crews that haven't been told what to do in the event of a fire, won't have considered how to get out and probably won't have familiarised themselves with where the extinguishers are located.

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