In the Assembly yesterday Ann Jones AM had the honour of presenting the first private members proposal for a LCO. She chose a non partisan issue that received the support of the whole Assembly:
for the Assembly to acquire the ability to change building order regulations in order to insist that all new house builds in Wales have a sprinkler system fitted as standard.
Before she became an AM Ann Jones worked for the fire service in Rhyl, so she knows better than any other Welsh politician about the devastation that a house fire can cause to property, people and communities. If a person of Ann's experience says that such a measure can reduce that devastation and save lives then her measure has to be supported.
However chatting to some people last night I found a considerable amount of "concern" amongst ordinary householders about the measure.
Most of us who have smoke detector alarms fitted in our homes have had the experience of false alarms. You know the sort of thing - smoke from a neighbour's garden bonfire wafts through your open window on a summer's day and the alarms go off. - A nuisance but not a big deal. - But a false alarm that dumps gallons of water on your furniture and electric goods would prove very expensive (and make the burnt toast too soggy to scrape the black bits off).
Unless Mrs Jones and the fire service can reassure householders that the risk of false alarms from sprinkler systems are fairly negligible, I don’t see her measure gaining the popular support, outside the Assembly, that it will need to succeed. Can such a reassurance be given?