An MHK feels more advice should be issued in relation to electrical fires.

Stu Peters, MHK for Middle, quizzed Justice and Home Affairs Minister Jane Poole-Wilson on her department’s strategy for preventing electric vehicle fire on Steam Packet vessels and in multi-storey car parks in the House of Keys this week.

She said that it was the department’s role to apply and enforce the current fire legislation and Fire Precautions Act 1975 to all applicable premises in the island.

‘The fire and rescue service has a general fire safety team who are responsible for this and in particular for the fire certification of designated premises which fall within the scope of that act,’ Mrs Poole-Wilson said.

‘The DHA does not have responsibility for the operational safety of Steam Packet vessels, while legislation relating to the safety of vessels is the responsibility of the Department for Enterprise.

‘The Department of Infrastructure is responsible for the legislation of vehicle roadworthiness and condition of vehicles.

‘The fire and rescue service does not have a specific strategy for preventing electric vehicle fires on the Steam Packet vessels or within multi-storey car parks.’

She added: ‘Instead, the fire and rescue service has developed operational guidance to assist crews to safely manage incidents involving EVs.

‘This includes the procurement of large fire blankets, specifically designed for vehicle fires, including electric vehicles.

‘Globally, there is evidence to show that on occasion electric vehicles can reignite following the initial incident.

‘The fire and rescue service has worked with partner agencies to highlight this risk and to consider how this may affect the recover of an electric vehicle post-fire.

‘The fire and rescue service has been working closely with the company to share operational guidance and knowledge around fires involving electric vehicles.’

Mr Peters asked whether it was time to update legislation on the basis that electric fires ‘are so violent, so vicious’ that existing legislation doesn’t cover enough for the effects of them.

The minister replied: ‘There is provision in the legislative programme to update our fire precautions and legislation.

‘Operational response is not a matter for legislation but is a matter for experts who will look at how best to deal with the risk of any vehicle fire.

‘There was recent coverage in the media of the fire and rescue service demonstrating how they would deal with an electric vehicle fire.

‘These vehicles are generally safe.’

Mr Peters said: ‘We’re not only talking about electric vehicles, London transport has banned e-scooters from their buses because of the threat and people are being advised not to take them into their homes at night because once these go up, you just can’t put them out.

‘The reaction to most fires is to throw water on it, which doesn’t work with an electric fire.’

Asked if the department would work with the fire service to issue consumer advice she explained that there is a ‘wider question’ around other agencies responsible for general standards of manufacture.