Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants



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Freephone: 0800 410 1130
E-mail: fire@lwf.co.uk

Fire Prevention, through Fire Risk Assessment

The terms Fire Prevention and Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) are not always used synonymously, however, by their very nature, they should be.  Fire prevention is the generic term given to any measure(s) which serve to avert a fire from occurring, or those means by which fire is detected, or limit its progress.  Whilst strictly speaking, systems such as fire alarm / sprinkler systems do not prevent fires, they do help to prevent the spread / consequences of fire and as such are embraced into this global term.

Similarly, FRA’s generate risk levels within a given area, where those risk levels are deemed to be too high, risk reduction measures, to bring the residual risk level into tolerable limits are introduced.  Those risk reduction measures will generally take the form of ‘Fire Prevention’, particularly when the term is used in a more ‘global’ sense.

On this basis, we should be adopting the FRA basis as a fire prevention tool.  FRA’s should undertake the following five step process, with the vast majority of outcomes / recommendation of the FRA being fire prevention measures.

Fire Risk Assessment Process

  1. Identify the hazards
  2.  Identify those at risk
  3.  Evaluate and Act
  4.  Record, Plan and Train
  5.  Review

 In the most common instances, it is clear that there will be fire hazards, as ignition sources and combustible material are part of the fabric of any building / process.  Similarly, there will almost always be people at risk.  We must then evaluate the risk posed to persons and determine if the measures in place ensure an adequate level of life safety.  As an example, the potential risk of fire is seen in most instances, on this basis, factors such as the means of escape (should a fire occur) must be assessed.  If we consider a fire will start, we must then assess if occupants will be able to escape safely?  The answer to this will be solely dependant on the fire prevention measures currently installed.  If the answer is yes, the maintenance of these systems / building features must be achieved.  Should the answer be no, it is likely that the only realistic way to ensure the residual risk is tolerable is to increase the fire prevention measures.

This relationship must be understood and respected to ensure a continued level of life safety is achieved for all occupants.  Achieving a tolerable level of risk within a FRA then places a reliance on those fire prevention measures considered in the assessment, failure to achieve a tolerable level will place requirements on additional measures.  With this borne in mind, FRA’s should be clearly indicating the features that are relied upon to achieve life safety.  This transparent approach assists those managing a building and those enforcing Fire Safety Legislation.  Advantages will also be seen when the FRA is reviewed as the factors that have enabled decisions to be made can themselves be readily re-evaluated.

Due to its very nature, the risk of fire will always be present, through continued assessment, introduction / maintenance of fire prevention measures, the risk posed can be appropriately controlled. 

If you would like to know more – or would like to arrange an appointment with one of our senior fire safety advisers – simply call Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663

We very much look forward to hearing from you and helping you with your fire risk assessment and fire prevention requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FIRE SAFETY BLOGS

  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - External Access for the Fire Service - Part 42

    In LWF's Fire Engineering blogs for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been looking at the subject of firefighting. In part 41 of this series, we discussed where to fit landing valves in rising mains, taking into account travel distance for the firefighters to the place of fire origin. In part 42, we look at what external access to the premises for the Fire Service should be provided.In England and...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Prevention & Waste Management - Part 76

    In LWF's blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 75, LWF discussed good housekeeping measures which should be implemented in a healthcare venue to avoid instances of fire. In part 76, we begin to discuss waste management from a fire prevention point of view. The effective management of waste on an ongoing basis is one of the...

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  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Community Fire Safety - Part 2

    In LWF's blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at community fire safety. In part 1, it was established that while there was scarce regulation on fire safety standards in residential buildings, such dictates would have little effect on owner/occupier domiciles. Fire safety education, however, has proved more successful and the informal beginnings of this lay with the...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Prevention - Part 75

    In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 74, LWF discussed good housekeeping measures which should be implemented in a healthcare venue to avoid instances of fire. In part 75, we will continue from that point. Rubbish can accumulate in certain spaces which are out of the way and ignored, such as lift wells, behind radiators,...

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  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Community Fire Safety - Part 1

    In LWF’s blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, our aim is to give information on best practice and fire engineering. In part 1 of this series, we will take a look at Community Fire Safety, a term which, while it relates in the main to domestic fire safety, can also be applied to business environments. Community Fire Safety (CFS) could be...

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Case Studies

Brentwood Town Hall Redevelopment
The redevelopment of Brentwood Town Hall included renovating the existing five storey property to provide police and council offices, a community hub and lettable office space across the basement, gro...

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General Bulletins

Fire - The External Risk
When we consider fire safety, our focus is normally from within, what can we do to prevent the occurrence of fire and how we can limit its damage.  Whilst this is the correct stance to take, we m...

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Technical Bulletins

Evacuation Modelling - Factor in Human Behaviour
Evacuation of buildings can be analyzed in different ways. Approved Document B (ADB) which provides guidance on meeting the requirements of the England and Wales Building Regulations with regard to fi...

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