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A best practice guide that aims to help to protect heritage buildings in the UK and Europe from fire has been created after a landmark European project involving our Service.
The HeritProt project has
given MF&RS the
opportunity to gather
specific information about
the historical buildings that
would be important in the
event of a fire, flood or other
such incident. The project
has also enhanced the
relationships and
emergency arrangements
at the sites, improving joint
working arrangements and developing a shared understanding of risk.
The Good Practice Manual has been developed as part of the three-year HeritProt project, which also involved eight other European cities and saw firefighters carrying out training exercises at Liverpool’s heritage buildings.
The manual was unveiled at a closing ceremony at our Service’s Training and Development Academy.
The training exercises were held in The Liver Building, The Cunard Building, The Port of Liverpool Building, St George’s Hall, Liverpool Town Hall and The Walker Art Gallery, where simulated exercises were carried out with the aim of protecting heritage buildings in the city from fire.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “This has been a fantastic project that has involved fire and rescue services across Europe. The project has ensured MF&RS has learnt from others and that innovative approaches to Fire Risk Management have been shared widely in order to protect our heritage.
“The work has culminated in the creation of a good practice guide, which is now available to all fire and rescue services across Europe, offering guidance on how to protect historical buildings from fire. We hope that this work will help prevent the loss of priceless artefacts and safeguard our heritage for future generations.”
Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Liverpool City Council cabinet member for regeneration and transport, said: “Clearly it is very important that we protect our historic buildings from disasters such as fire and this project has helped build the partnerships and knowledge needed to provide better safety for them.”
Liverpool was given World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2004 and World Heritage sites present special challenges to fire and rescue services.
The HeritProt project has been funded through the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg IVC programme.
Delegates from eight European fire and rescue services and heritage experts also attended a two-day conference in October held by our Service in Liverpool.
Carlos González Segura, President of the Tenerife's Consortium for Risks Prevention, Firefighting & Rescue, Spain, said: “From the very beginning, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service offered all its resources to the HeritProt project. Firefighters from Tenerife even had the opportunity to train at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Training and Development Academy. Therefore, we are deeply grateful.
“Having the opportunity of
working together with European partners, has enriched our knowledge and our
point of views of the fire, which is our principal task.
“We have a document that we can implement in our cities for the protection of our heritage and historic buildings. This makes us very confident, because we know we are doing our best.”
The closing ceremony for the project was held in December 2014.
Group Manager Paul Murphy, who led the project in Merseyside, added: “This project has also raised firefighters’ knowledge of the layout of these very unique historical buildings and the fire safety procedures that are in place.
“There have also been some valuable lessons in how the fire risk at heritage sites is managed and the project has developed some great partnerships with the people who run the heritage buildings.”
The eight other European cities involved in HeritProt are La Laguna in Tenerife, Sighisoara in Romania, Cuenca in Spain, Riga in Latvia, Warsaw in Poland, Vilnius in Lithuania, Holloko in Hungary and Angra Do Heroismo in Portugal.
(left to right) Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan, Councillor Dave Hanratty, Chair of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, and Group Manager Paul Murphy, who led the project in Merseyside, pictured with the Good Practice Manual at the closing conference.
Photo: Lyndsay Young.
MF&RS firefighters carrying out a training exercise at St George’s Hall. Photos: Chris Phillips.

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