This is a message from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service warning to childminders after an unofficial fire safety inspection:
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is warning childminders to be on their guard after a man visited a childminder’s home in the Bracknell Forest area recently, claiming he was there to conduct a fire safety inspection.
The man reportedly turned up unannounced at the lady’s home, inspected the premises and gave her detailed fire safety advice. Fire safety forms part of childminders’ licensing requirements, which are issued and regulated by the Local Authority. Any fire safety inspections will only ever be carried out by RBFRS, in conjunction with the Local Authority, and not by a third party.
Chris Bunyan, Group Manager for Protection at RBFRS, said: “Firstly, I would like to make it clear that no children were harmed during this visit, nor is there any information to suggest that there was any intention to do so. However, as it is not clear what this man’s motives were in visiting the childminder’s premises, we have reported it to Thames Valley Police, who are currently investigating.
“I would also like to remind childminders that fire safety inspections at their premises are only carried out once an appointment has been made, so a legitimate Fire Officer will not just turn up unannounced.
“In addition, our fire safety inspectors will always show you their ID card, which clearly shows their name and photo, along with their unique RBFRS identification number. However, if you are in any doubt as to whether this is authentic or not, please telephone RBFRS on 0118 945 2888 to double check.
“Childminders have to comply with Local Authority licensing requirements, not fire safety legislation applying to commercial premises, so there is no reason for anyone other than an official fire and rescue service or Local Authority representative to offer any kind of fire safety advice.”
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police, said: “If you have any information about bogus callers please contact the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101.
“If you don't want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.”