Covid 19 Fire Safety Update
Are you working or studying at home? Are you aware of the every-day fire safety risks that are around you?
There are a number of simple fire safety measures you can take that may prevent damage to your home, serious injury or even death. Please click on the following link to find out more: Fire Safety Advice - Working/Studying At Home.
Are you the owner or manager of a commercial premises?
You should be aware of the importance of fire safety management, regardless of any restrictions in place due to Covid 19. You should ensure that any adaptations or modifications to your premises intended to mitigate the risk of Covid 19 transmission does not adversely impact on fire safety and that any building works required in this regard are fully compliant with the current Building Regulations and Building Control Regulations. Please click on the following link to find out more: Fire Safety Advice - Business Owners.
Cork County Council provides a fire and rescue service from 20 fire stations, which are located throughout the county. Over 200 trained fire fighters, who are members of the local communities in which they serve, are retained and on call to respond to varied emergencies which include fire incidents, road traffic collisions, weather induced events, hazardous material spills and assistance with medical emergencies. We respond to approximately 3,000 emergency calls each year across an area of over 7,300 square kilometres.
Cork County Fire and Building Control Department provides this service, in order to achieve the following objectives:
- Assist the public in maintaining adequate fire safety in buildings
- Ensure that building construction is in compliance with the building regulations
- Prepare for major emergencies.
Our organisational structure is broadly made up of the following areas:
- Fire Operations
- Fire Prevention
- Building Control
- Major Emergency Management
- Community Fire Safety
The Department is located at four regional offices:
- South Division: Fire Administration Building (Headquarters), County Hall Campus, Farranlea Rd, Cork T12 R298. Phone 021/4304077.
- East Division: Midleton Fire Station, Market Green, Midleton, Co. Cork P25 FP21. Phone 021/4635500
- West Division: Bantry Fire Station, Wolfe Tone Square, Bantry, Co. Cork P75 TD82. Phone 027/50505
- North Division: Mallow Fire Station, Limerick Road, Mallow Co. Cork P51 V189. Phone 022/52700
You can also email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Commencement Notice is required to give notice to Building Control Authorities of the erection of such buildings, or classes of buildings, or the carrying out of such works, or classes of works, as may be specified in the regulations. The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI 9 of 2014 recommends the Building Control Management System (BCMS) site as the preferred means of electronic building control administration.
Building Control Regulations provide for matters of procedure, administration and control for the purposes of securing the implementation of the requirements of the Building Regulations and of demonstrating how compliance with such requirements has been achieved in relation to the building or works concerned.
To apply for a Commencement Notice each party (owner, designer, builder and assigned certifier) to the notice must first register with the BCMS.
The following guides will also be of use:
Introduction to Building Control
The building control system applies to the design and construction of new buildings, extensions and material alterations to, and certain changes in the use of, existing buildings.
The information contained here is intended to provide practical guidance and is not a definitive legal interpretation of building control law.
It is a legal requirement that buildings must be designed and built in accordance with the Building Regulations. Under current legislation, the building control authority has discretionary powers.
These include the following:-
- The right to inspect works to which the Building Regulations apply
- The right to request information relating to works to which Building Regulations apply
- Power of enforcement in relation to non-compliance with the Building Regulations.
- Power to prosecute for non-compliance, either by summary or High Court proceedings.
It should be noted that the power of inspection granted to building control authorities under the legislation is discretionary and does not impose an obligation to inspect. The primary responsibility for compliance with regulations rests with the designers, builders and building owners.
Building Control System
The legislative framework of the building control system comprises three parts:-
1. The Building Control Act
There are three main provisions within this Act:-
a) It provides for the making of building regulations dealing with issues such as building standards, workmanship, fire safety conservation of fuel and energy and access for those with disabilities.
b) It provides for the making of building control regulations, which involve commencement notices, fire safety certificates, disability access certificates and fees, and includes administration by the building control authorities.
c) It gives powers of enforcement and inspection to the building control authorities.
The Building Regulations set out the technical requirements for the design and construction of building works. They are written in broad, functional terms rather than performance or prescriptive terms. Requirement B1, for example, states that 'A building shall be so designed and constructed that there are adequate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety.' As the requirements are quite general, there is more specific guidance available on what is considered adequate. This guidance is provided in Technical Guidance Documents A to M.
These regulations are procedural and administrative. Their purpose is to promote observance of the Regulations by supplementing the basic powers of inspection and enforcement given to the building control authorities by different sections of the Building Control Act.
They do this by requiring the submission of the following:-
- Applications for Fire Safety Certificate/Revised Fire Safety Certificate/Regularisation Certificate
- Applications for Disability Access Certificate/Revised Disability Access Certificate
- Commencement Notices/7 Day Notices
- Certificates of Compliance on Completion
For further information on the above please refer to the ‘Commencement Notices’ and Building Control Applications’ sections on this website.
A Code of Practice for Persons Inspecting and Certifying Building Works has been published by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance with respect to inspecting and certifying works or a building for compliance with the Building Regulations.
Building Energy Rating (BER)
A Building Energy Rating (BER) is an indication of the energy performance of a building. Before a building is occupied for the first time the person who commissions its construction must obtain a BER certificate and an advisory report produced by a registered BER assessor. A register of BER assessors is available on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website: National Register of BER Assessors. There are exemptions for certain building categories e.g. protected structures and temporary buildings.
A BER certificate must be provided to prospective buyers or tenants when a property is offered for sale or rent. BER details must also be included on advertisements when a property is offered for sale or rent. Guidance for property owners is available here: SEAI Website (BER Information). Guidance for property advertisers is available here: SEAI Website (BER Advertising)
The Building Control Authority have powers of enforcement under the EU (Energy Performance of Building) Regulations 2012. The SEAI are responsible for the day to day administration of the BER system and also have powers of enforcement under the regulations in respect of their functions.
Please note that online submission of applications for Fire Safety Certificates, Revised Fire Safety Certificates, Regularisation Certificates, Disability Access Certificates, Revised Disability Access Certificates, Dispensations and Relaxations is effective from Monday 13th July 2020 via the Building Control Management System (BCMS).
If you have not used the BCMS previously for the submission of Commencement Notices/7 Day Notices or Certificates of Compliance on Completion, it will be necessary for you to sign up for a BCMS account in order to access the online submission facility.
Please go to BCMS and use the Sign Up option to register for an account. All instructional videos will be posted on the National Building Control Office YouTube Channel. Please refer to the following advice on submitting applications on the BCMS.
Fire Safety Certificates
What is a fire safety certificate?
A Fire Safety Certificate is granted by a building control authority and certifies that the works or a building to which the fire safety certificate application relates, if constructed in accordance with documentation accompanying the application, is in compliance with the requirements of Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations 1997, as amended. The decision to grant (with or without conditions) or refuse a certificate is based on an assessment of plans, documents and other information submitted with the application.
Do I need a fire safety certificate?
With the exception of houses and certain agricultural buildings, a fire safety certificate is generally required for all new buildings, including apartments and flats. A certificate is also required for material changes of use and certain alterations and extensions to buildings. A fire safety certificate must be obtained before work starts.
Where do I get a fire safety certificate?
Before you begin any work or make a material change of use, you should first apply for a fire safety certificate. Applications are made online via the BCMS and must include the following:
- plans, calculations and specifications;
- details of the nature and extent of the proposed use and, where appropriate, the existing use of the building;
- the appropriate fee, based on floor area;
- a technical report demonstrating how the design complies with Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations.
Any application which does not include the above can be rejected by the authority as invalid.
How long should it take to get a fire safety certificate?
The statutory period allowed to a building control authority to process a fire safety certificate application is two months. However, all the information must be made available to the authority, so that they have sufficient information on which to base a decision. If the application documentation is incomplete, this will delay a decision on the application.
Can I appeal if I am refused a fire safety certificate?
You can appeal a decision of the building control authority to An Bórd Pleanála within one month of the decision. Details of the appeal process and fee are sent out with each decision of the authority.
Disability Access Certificates
In accordance with Article 20D of the Building Control Regulations 1997, as amended an application for a disability access certificate shall be accompanied by such plans, (including a site or layout plan) and such other particulars as are necessary to:
- Identify and describe the works or building to which the application relates,
- Enable the building control authority to assess, whether the said works or building would, if constructed in accordance with the said plans and other particulars, comply with the requirements of Part M of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations,
- Identify the nature and extent of the proposed use and, where appropriate, of the existing use of the building concerned
The extent to which plans, details and specifications necessary to demonstrate compliance with Part M of the Building Regulations will vary depending on the type, size and complexity of the building concerned. Applications are made online via the BCMS and must include the following:-
- A fully comprehensive report denoted to correspond with Technical Guidance Document Part M clause numbers (see sample report formats below);
- A set of drawings covering all areas of accessibility;
- Floor plans, cross sectional drawings, drawings of each elevation and other detailed drawings as appropriate. (Scale of not less than 1:100);
- A site layout plan (Scale of not less than 1:500) with the following indicated:-
- Location of all vehicle and pedestrian access points, approach routes, roadways to the site, all sloped/stepped routes;
- All entrances to the building with the main entrance onto the site highlighted;
- All on-site parking spaces including set down areas from where a person may alight from a vehicle;
- A site location map (Scale of either 1:2500 or 1:1000);
- The appropriate fee. (Note: each building should be the subject of a separate application and fee).
A decision of the building control authority can be appealed to An Bórd Pleanála within one month of the decision. Details of the appeal process and fee are sent out with each decision of the authority.
This section outlines the involvement of the fire service in the licensing process and is intended only as a guide to licensing of public premises. It does not purport to be a definitive guide and further information regarding the process may be obtained by contacting the fire service via the contact details given.
The Fire Authority is a notice party in respect of certain types of certificate/licence applications to the courts. Notification of a licence application allows the Fire Authority to inspect the premises concerned and to be represented at the licence hearing to state if it has any objection to the licence being granted. Information on the various types of applications heard in the District Court and relevant notice arrangements is available to download on the following link: District Court Licensing and Other Applications.
Since July 2020 applications for licences may be made using the Court Service Online (CSOL) facility available at csol.ie. Any licence applications made on CSOL are automatically notified to the Fire Authority if it is a notice party. On notification of a licence application and payment of the appropriate fee the fire authority will arrange an inspection of the premises to be conducted by a fire officer.
Details of licensing fees are available under the Fire Service Charges section of our website.
The applicant will be expected to have test certificates/reports for the following, as appropriate, ready for inspection:
- Electrical Installation
- Emergency lighting system
- Fire detection and alarm system
- Fire extinguishers
- Gas installation
- Kitchen extract ductwork cleaning
On the day of the inspection the inspecting officer will check the following items, where relevant:
- Final exits/escape doors
- Locking devices and push-bar devices
- Internal & external escape routes
- Fire doors, intumescent/cold smoke seals, self-closing devices
- Signage, exit signs, and fire instruction notices
- Emergency lighting system (maintained, non-maintained or combined system)
- Fire detection and alarm system
- Fire extinguishers
- High risk/Storage Areas
- Wall and ceiling linings
- Fire brigade access & water supplies
- Fire safety register and staff training.
- Evacuation procedures and records of drills
Licence applicants should ensure that prior to the inspection all the above have been checked and annual test certificates, where appropriate, are available for inspection. This will minimise delays in obtaining your licence. If the fire authority considers that deficiencies exist, a schedule of works will issue. The applicant will then be required to have these works completed prior to the granting of their licence. If the licensee carries out modifications or upgrading works to their premises at any time they should be aware of their obligations under building control legislation.
In accordance with the provisions of Section 35(3) of the Fire Services Acts, 1981 and 2003, the Local Government (Financial Provisions) (No. 2) Act, 1983 and the Local Government (Financial Provisions) Act, 2000, the following charges will be levied by Cork County Council:
Domestic Chimney Fire
Road Based Incidents
Per Hour Per Fire Brigade
Automatic Fire/CO Alarm With No Fire
All Other Fires/Incidents(4)
Per Hour Per Fire Brigade
- Minimum callout charge is one hour. Maximum charge for road-based incidents or domestic fires is €1,500
- Cost apportioned equally to each party involved.
- Applies to 2nd or subsequent alarm activation in a 12 month period
- Includes domestic incidents in private, rented or owner-occupied dwellings
(Callouts to other Fire Authority areas and Semi State companies are charged at actual cost plus 30% administration costs)
No Charges shall apply for the following:
- Fire brigade attendance where no service is provided (except in the case of a response to a 2nd or subsequent false alarm activation of an automatic fire alarm/carbon monoxide alarm in any 12 month period).
- Incidents where the beneficiary of the service cannot be determined or where it is established that a fire has occurred on commonage.
- Incidents involving self harm or attempted suicide.
- Incidents where a fatality has occurred.
- If the call is cancelled en-route.
- A malicious false alarm, unless the caller can be identified and then billed.
- A false alarm with good intent.
- Fallen trees on public roads.
- In the case of arson, unless the perpetrator can be identified and then billed or commercial sites where insurance is likely to cover the invoice.
- Where the vehicle is stolen.
- Personal rescue that is not on commercial property and is not in connection with a road traffic collision.
- Where assistance is provided to Gardaí or Ambulance Service.
Charges may be waived in any particular case where the Fire Authority is satisfied that such waiving is warranted. Waiver applications will be dealt with on an individual basis taking personal circumstances and amount of charges into account.
Each follow up inspection
Issue of letter without inspection
Attendance at District Court (within Co. Cork)
Attendance at Circuit Court (within Co. Cork)
Attendance at Court outside of Co. Cork
- Dangerous Substances Licensing
- Administration Fees:
Processing New/Renewal Bulk Storage Licence
Processing New Petroleum Retail Licence
Renewal/Amendment/Transfer of Petroleum Retail Licence
Witnessing Pressure Testing per visit
- Statutory Fees:
Storage Capacity (Litres)
Fee per year (max 3 years)
Less than 500
501 – 2,500
2,501 - 5,000
5,001 – 25,000
25,001 – 50,000
50,001 – 100,00
100,001 – 250,000
Greater than 250,000
Amended licence (storage capacity not exceeding 25,000 litres)
Amended licence (storage capacity exceeding 25,000 litres)
50% of statutory fee paid at grant of licence
Transfer or Replacement of Licence
- Fire Safety Certificates/Disability Access Certificates
The schedule of fees for Fire Safety Certificates/Disability Access Certificates etc. is set out in the Fifth Schedule of the Building Control Regulations 2009. Download fee schedule here.
The fee for a copy of a certificate is €12.50 per copy.
- Fire Prevention
Inspection at the request of the owner of the property (including report/letter)
Fire Safety Management
Fire poses a substantial risk to any business. An outbreak of fire will in many cases render a business unable to continue operating. Fire has the potential to cause significant structural damage to premises, destruction of equipment and in worst-case scenarios, injury and loss of life.
Workplace Fire Safety
Employers must assess their workplaces to ensure the necessary protections are in place to reduce fire-related risks and to ensure their business is compliant with Fire Safety Legislation. Section 18(2) of the Fire Services Acts, 1981 and 2003 places a duty on the person having control over a premises to:-
(a) take all reasonable measures to guard against the outbreak of fire on the premises,
(b) provide reasonable fire safety measures for the premises and prepare and provide appropriate fire safety procedures for ensuring the safety of persons on the premises,
(c) ensure that the fire safety measures and procedures referred to in paragraph (b) are applied at all times, and
(d) ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of persons on the premises in the event of an outbreak of fire whether such outbreak has occurred or not.
Failure in this duty is an offence under the Act and may result in prosecution.
So what must employers do to safeguard against the risk of fire? Taking the following steps will minimise the risk of workplace fire incidents and non-compliance with fire safety legislation:-
- Undertake a fire safety programme and appoint persons responsible for fire safety duties
- Ensure good housekeeping practices at all times
- Ensure that fire protection equipment is in good working order
- Ensure employees receive appropriate training
- Have appropriate emergency procedures in place
- Keep a Fire Safety Register.
Employers should ensure that any adaptations or modifications to their workplaces intended to mitigate the risk of Covid 19 transmission do not adversely impact on fire safety and are fully compliant with the Building Regulations and the Building Control Regulations.
Examples of what to watch out for:-
- Wedging of fire doors to reduce the amount of surfaces being touched. Note: fire doors should only be held open by approved electromagnetic devices connected to the fire detection and alarm system.
- Altering the internal layout/pedestrian flow to allow for social distancing
- Storing combustible/hazardous material, e.g. hand sanitiser, in protected escape routes
It is essential that fire safety management of your premises is given the highest priority regardless of any restrictions in place due to Covid 19. Please adhere to Fire Safety Advice for Business Owners.
Maintenance of Fire Protection Equipment
Fire protection equipment must be properly maintained. The continuing safety and protection of staff and occupants relies on fully functioning fire protection equipment such as fire detection & alarm systems, emergency lighting systems and fire extinguishing equipment.
Fire Alarm & Emergency Lighting Systems
Maintenance, inspection and testing of fire detection and alarm systems and emergency lighting systems should be in accordance with the relevant Irish Standard. Daily, weekly, quarterly and annual inspections and testing should be carried out by competent persons and relevant certification retained.
Maintenance of Escape Routes
Occupants of a building cannot be evacuated quickly and safely if escape routes are obstructed or exits are locked. It is an essential element of fire safety management that all escape routes are kept free from obstruction and safe from smoke and fire. This can only be achieved if escape routes are not obstructed, if fire-resistant doors are kept closed (or automatic closers linked to a fire alarm are maintained) and if exit doors are functioning properly at all times. Escape routes should be inspected on a regular basis. Any obstructions on the escape route should be removed immediately and steps taken to ensure no further obstruction is allowed to occur.
Staff and Management Training
All managers and staff, including temporary and part-time workers, should receive training and instruction in the following:
- Fire prevention duties
- Emergency procedures, including fire and evacuation drills
- The location of fire alarm call points and the fire alarm panel
- The use of fire-fighting equipment
- The role of fire doors and the importance of not wedging or propping them open.
- Arrangements for calling and assisting the fire brigade
Fire Safety Register
A simple and effective method of keeping on top of tests, services, inspections and training is to keep a Fire Safety Register. This is designed to provide a record of the measures you have taken to ensure that the fire safety arrangements in the premises are properly maintained and remain effective.
Click on the following link for Fire Safety Guidance in a Variety of Settings
The role of Cork County Fire Service as a primary emergency response agency is complemented by the promotion of fire safety awareness in the community. The decline in fire related deaths in recent years can be attributed in large part to a general awareness of fire safety together with uptake in ownership of domestic smoke alarms.
Notwithstanding this, a number of fire fatalities occur each year in domestic settings. Recent Irish research has shown that the majority of those who die are alone at the time of the fire and that most fires start in the living room followed by the bedroom and the kitchen. The most common time for a fatal fire to occur is midnight to 2:00 a.m. and most fatal fires occur during the winter months. Among the most common causes of fires are faulty mobile phone/laptop chargers and poorly maintained stoves and flues.
People are encouraged to assess the fire safety measures in their own homes and implement some common-sense safeguards where possible. As part of this assessment it may be wise to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have sufficient smoke alarms installed that are actually working? Your smoke alarms should be tested regularly. Use the handle of a brush if access is tricky.
- Have I discussed an escape plan with my family? The purpose of a smoke alarm is to give an early warning of fire. It is vital that your family know exactly what to do if the smoke alarm activates. In the event of fire: Get Out - Get the Fire Brigade Out - Stay Out.
- Do I know my Eircode if I need to call 999 or 112 for the Fire Service? Memorise your Eircode and consider keeping in it a safe place (e.g. on the fridge, bedside locker or phone).
- Has my chimney/stove flue been cleaned recently? Over one-quarter of the fire calls that Cork County Fire Service responds to are chimney fires.
- Do I implement simple safeguards such as the use of spark guards, a nighttime routine of closing doors (to reduce the spread of fire & smoke), control of candles and preventing overloaded sockets?
Community Smoke Alarm Scheme
Cork County Fire Service, in conjunction with the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management, provides 10-year battery-operated smoke alarms for distribution to elderly and vulnerable residents throughout Cork County.
If you wish to avail of this scheme you can inform a member of your local community group/organisation who can, in turn, contact the Fire Service on your behalf. Following an assessment of applications, a member of the fire service will then be in contact with the group to arrange the delivery of smoke alarms.
Click the following link to download the Community Smoke Alarm Scheme Application form.
Further information can be requested from Cork County Fire Service at email@example.com or from the following Divisional offices:
- Cork County Fire Service HQ (County Hall Campus), Tel: (021) 4304077
- Midleton Fire Station, Tel: (021) 4635500
- Bantry Fire Station, Tel: (027) 50505
- Mallow Fire Station, Tel: (022) 52700
BeFireSafe is a European Union funded fire safety education programme that has been developed for Post Primary Schools. A core team has been drawn from the Irish Fire Service, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, and the Irish Education System to produce a programme that can be used in secondary schools all over the country. The project will allow pupils the opportunity to learn about fire prevention, fire science and careers in the fire service.
If your school would be interested in rolling out the BFireSafe programme please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
For further information on fire safety please use the following links:
- Fire Safety in the Home
- Fire Safety at Christmas
- Summer Fire Safety
- Halloween Fire Safety
- Fire Safety Week
- Fire Safety in the Home Survey
Uncontrolled fires pose a danger to wildlife, property, infrastructure, the environment and potentially, human life. They can be a significant and prolonged draw on fire service resources and may compromise our ability to respond to other incidents such as road traffic collisions or domestic fires.
The burning of waste is an illegal practice and is an offence under the Waste Management Act 1996, the Air Pollution Act 1987 and the Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009.
There is an exemption under the Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009 that allows farmers to dispose of the following by burning: untreated/uncontaminated wood, trees, trimmings, leaves, bushes or similar materials generated by agricultural practices.
In accordance with the regulations, a farmer must notify the local authority in advance of the intention to burn agricultural green waste. ‘Notice to Burn’ forms are available to download on the following link: Notice to Burn Form. This form may also be obtained on request from Cork County Council’s anti-litter unit by emailing the following address email@example.com or by phoning 021/4285417 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri).
In addition, a farmer must call 999 or 112 immediately prior to conducting a controlled burn so as to ensure that the Fire Service is not needlessly mobilised to the fire as a result of calls from concerned members of the public. The emergency call centre will only accept calls from those who have notified the local authority accordingly and are otherwise entitled to burn agricultural green waste. A follow-up call must be made upon completion of the controlled burn.
Note: Attendance by the fire service at such incidents attracts a service charge of €660 per hour per fire brigade.
Burning of wastes arising from agricultural activities should only be undertaken as a final measure following adherence to the following waste hierarchy:
- Waste arisings are reduced in accordance with best agricultural practice.
- Waste is reused where practicable.
- Waste is recycled through shredding and used as compost or wood chippings.
- Waste is salvaged for use as fuel where practicable.
The following fire safety precautions should be considered if controlled burning is necessary:
- Burning should be commenced as early as possible in the day.
- A suitable fire break should be made around the area/waste to be burned.
- Check the weather forecast and do not burn in exceptionally dry conditions.
- If possible, have a sufficient mobile water supply available.
- If fires get out of control and poses a risk to buildings or woodlands, call the Fire Brigade immediately by dialling 999 or 112.
- Before leaving the area, make sure that the fire is completely out.
The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine have published a 'Code of Practice for Prescribed Burning' which is available to download on the following link: Prescribed Burning Code of Practice - Ireland.
It is important to note that it is illegal to burn any living vegetation between 1st March and 31st August each year under the Wildlife Act 1976.
What can I do to prevent uncontrolled fires?
Uncontrolled fires can happen due to a range of human activity such as dropping cigarettes, dumping rubbish, losing control of barbeques and bonfires, and in a small number of cases fires being started deliberately.
Below is a list of measures that can be taken to prevent uncontrolled fires:-
- Smoking - When driving, walking or having a picnic, ensure that cigarettes and other smoking materials are fully extinguished and disposed of carefully.
- Barbeques – When lighting barbeques keep them under close supervision and don’t let them get out of hand. Ensure they are fully extinguished and disposed of carefully after use. Note - on most lands it is illegal to light any fire, including barbeques, without the permission of the landowner.
- Litter- Please take your litter home with you. Even a discarded glass bottle can start a fire.
What can I do to protect my property?
For anyone living in an area that is prone to uncontrolled fires, you should remove gorse and any dead vegetation from around buildings, oil tanks, fences, forestry and poles in order to maintain a defensible zone and reduce the risk of loss or damage to property. Please click the following link for further advice: Prepare for Wildlife.
The Civil Defence is a volunteer based organisation that supports the front line emergency services. They are also involved in assisting local communities with over 4500 volunteer members throughout Ireland.
Their volunteers are trained in the following areas:
- Search and Rescue
- Auxiliary Fire Services
- Radiation Monitoring
You can find more information on the Civil Defence website.
Civil Defence in Cork County is organised in three units, Cork North, Cork West and Cork South, with respective HQs in Mallow, Skibbereen and Kinsale. Each unit has approximately 45-60 active volunteers, drawn from a variety of backgrounds and with a wide range of experience and expertise.
The primary role of Civil Defence is to provide 2nd Line Emergency Response to the Principal Response Agencies ( PRAs: Local Authority, HSE, An Garda Siochana) in the areas of severe weather and flood response, missing person search, communications and voluntary emergency ambulance capability.
Volunteers are professionally trained in a wide variety of skills, and also receive instruction in Critical Incident Stress Management, Health and Safety and manual handling. Training exercises are regularly undertaken with the PRAs and other Voluntary Emergency Services to maintain a high level of readiness and to streamline procedures.
We provide a fire and rescue service from twenty fire stations, which are located throughout the county. Emergency calls include domestic and commercial fires, road traffic collisions, gorse fires, chemical incidents and other hazardous occurrences within the county.
The service is separated into four geographical divisions, with divisional headquarters in the fire stations of Bantry, Mallow, Midleton and Carrigaline. Each division comes under the responsibility of a Senior Executive Fire Officer, who is assisted by an Assistant Chief Fire Officer with regard to fire service operational matters within that division. Individual Station Officers and Sub-Station Officers oversee the running of the services provided to the public from each fire station.
Each Fire Station is manned by between 10 and 12 retained firefighters. There are 214 dedicated part-time firefighters working for Cork County Fire Department.
Each new recruit firefighter undertakes a three-week recruitment course on basic fire fighting skills and road traffic collisions. This is followed by a two-week course on the use of the breathing apparatus and a two-day course on Compartment Fire Behaviour. Retained firefighters also undertake continuous training by means of weekly drill nights at each local fire station.
Firefighters also undertake specialised training in Occupational First Aid, Medical First Responder, Water Awareness, Hazardous Materials Training and Road Traffic Collision Training. Firefighters also undertake regular refresher training in these topics to maintain and enhance their skills.
Newly appointed Station Officers and Sub-Station Officers undertake specialised officer Command and Control Courses to develop and enhance their skills. Some Officers qualify as instructors in certain disciplines which enables them to deliver the training both on a Station and Countywide basis.
Cork County Council, as the licensing authority for County Cork under the Dangerous Substances Act 1972, issues licences for the storage of flammable liquids and fuels under the following Regulations:-
- Dangerous Substances (Flammable Liquids and Fuels Retail Stores) Regulations, 2019 (S.I. No. 630 of 2019)
- Dangerous Substance (Flammable Liquids and Fuels Distribution and Commercial Supply Stores) Regulations, 2019 (S.I. No. 631 of 2019)
These Regulations came into effect on 1st April 2020. They repeal and replace the Dangerous Substances (Retail and Private Petroleum Stores) Regulations, 1979 (S.I. No. 311 of 1979) and the Dangerous Substances (Petroleum Bulk Stores) Regulations, 1979 (S.I. No. 313 of 1979).
The Regulations make a number of changes to the petroleum sector to increase safety standards for employees, the public and the environment. They are broader in scope than the 1979 Regulations and include Diesel, as well as several ‘alternative fuels’ such as electricity, hydrogen, biofuels, synthetic and paraffinic fuels, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Diesel-only stores and stores which were not previously required to have a licence have until 1st April 2021 to become compliant with the new Regulations.
A PDF version of the new Regulations and a guidance document on frequently asked questions is available on the website of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation at this link.
- For Retail and Kerbside Retail Stores
All retail and kerbside retail stores which store flammable liquids and fuels for the purposes of sale or supply to the public must have a Licence or Certificate of Operation to operate granted by the appropriate licencing authority.
- For Distribution and Commercial Supply Stores
All distribution and commercial supply stores which hold flammable liquids and fuels for supply or sale to commercial enterprises, for supply to the licensee’s own vehicles or for use in any engine under the licensee’s control must have a licence granted by the appropriate licensing authority.
All first time applications must have an accompanying Risk Assessment in line with the format set out in the Regulations.
Click the following link for application forms for Retail and Kerbside Retail Stores.
Click the following link for application forms for Distribution and Commercial Supply Stores.
The appropriate application should be made to Cork County Council, Fire & Building Control Dept., County Hall Campus, Farranlea Road, Cork T12 R298.
Any application for the renewal of a Licence shall be made not less than 90 days before the date on which the licence expires.
Details of fees payable are available in the Fire Service Charges accordion, listed above, on this webpage.
A ‘Retail store’ means a place or premises used or intended to be used for the keeping for sale or supply to the public, under a licence, flammable liquids and fuels for use in the propulsion of a vehicle or the running of an engine of any kind.
A ‘Kerbside retail store’ means a retail store, premises or location where flammable liquids and fuels are stored for the purposes of sale or supply to the public and are dispensed to vehicles that are parked on a public road whether the dispensing equipment is located on a public footpath or otherwise, or the vehicle from which flammable liquids and fuels are transferred to the store is parked on a public road.
‘Commercial supply’ means the sale of flammable liquids and fuels to commercial operations, or the supply of flammable liquids and fuels for commercial activities, whether the flammable liquids and fuels are supplied to another person or company or within the same company
‘Appropriate licensing authority’ means the licensing authority with functional responsibilities for the area in which the retail store or kerbside retail store is located, or a licensing authority or group of licensing authorities designated as an appropriate licensing authority, or a body established to act on behalf of a licensing authority or group of licensing authorities and designated as an appropriate licensing authority. An appropriate licensing authority may also be an appropriate fire authority.
If a licence application for a Retail Store or a Commercial Store is refused, or the store is the subject of an adjudication on any matter by the licensing authority, the owner or operator may appeal the decision to the Health and Safety Authority (i.e. the “appeals authority”) within the appropriate time period from the date of the decision by the licensing authority.
Note: Appeals in relation to kerbside retail stores are made to the relevant District Court.
Details on how to make an appeal can be found at the following link HSA – Appeals process
Becoming a Retained Fire-fighter
Cork County Fire Service is a Retained fire service. Fire-fighters are available on a on call system and generally have other work commitments outside of the fire service. The main requirement when recruiting Fire-fighters is that they live and work within a reasonable distance of the Fire Station. The position is open to male and female applicants. Though part-time, recruits undergo extensive initial training including a three week Recruit course and a two week Breathing Apparatus Wearers Course.
When a call is received for the Fire Service, the alerters for a particular brigade are activated and the Fire-fighters, who each carry an alerter, respond to the fire station immediately. Fire-fighters could be at work or at home in bed when called. However they are bound by the rules of the road when commuting to the Fire Station.
Cork County Fire Service recruit persons to the Fire Service as vacancies arise. Vacancies are advertised on Facebook, in the local newspapers and on the Cork County Council Website.
Positions are open to male and female applicants
- An application form must be completed.
- A Garda Vetting Form must be completed.
- When a vacancy appears, interviews are held and qualified candidates are put on a panel.
- From this panel applicants are asked to carry out a medical to check their fitness levels.
- If successful an applicant is sent on a three week Fire-fighter Recruit Induction Course. Once this is successfully completed the new Fire-fighter will become part of the on call roster system and will attend fires with the remainder of this crew.
- The new Fire-fighter if usually sent on a Breathing Apparatus Course within a year of joining the Fire Service, this must be successfully completed.
As well as responding to emergency calls and undertaking community fire safety initiatives as required, retained Fire-fighters attend biweekly training nights in order to maintain competency levels. They must also ensure that their personal Fire-fighter equipment is maintained to the highest standard to provide the required protection at an emergency incident.
As a Fire-fighter you will be called upon to tackle a wide range of emergency situations where your problem solving skills and initiative will be vital to resolve issues quickly and calmly. Incidents vary from tackling fires and rescuing people from burning buildings to dealing with chemical spillages and road traffic collisions. There are certain personal attributes that you will need to help you fulfill your role as a Fire-fighter. They include confidence, resilience, adaptability, effective communication skills, integrity and a commitment to diversity.
The role of the Fire-fighter is continually changing as new techniques and equipment are introduced. As well as responding to emergencies you may also be required to work on Community Fire Safety Project:
1. To prevent fire and accidents from starting in the first place.
2. Educating the community by visiting schools, community centres.
3. Advising people about the use of smoke alarms and having an escape plan available if a fire should occur in their homes.
Training and development
- As a Fire-fighter you will be expected to undertake a continuous training programme by attending lectures, exercises, practical training sessions and other forms of training to maintain competence levels.
- You will be expected to take responsibility for developing your own skills and ensuring that your fitness levels are maintained as the work can be demanding, both physically and mentally.
Retained Fire-fighter Further Information