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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Lawrence Webster Forrest
Legion House
Lower Road
Kenley
Surrey
CR8 5NH

Tel: +44 (0)20 8668 8663 Fax: +44 (0)20 8668 8583
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 - Firefighting & External Water Supplies - Part 24

    In LWF’s fire engineering blog series for Architects and other professionals involved in building design, we have been looking at firefighting and, most recently, the provisions that should be made for the Fire Service to attend and put out a fire. In part 23, we looked at the requirements and recommendations relating to the provision of fire hydrants and we continue from that point in part 24.The original standards for the installation of water...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Access & Facilities for the Fire Service - Part 58

    In LWFs 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 57 of this series, LWF looked at what access and facilities must be provided for the Fire Service attending a fire at a healthcare venue. In part 58, we will continue from that point by looking at the number and location of fire-fighting shafts required in those healthcare...

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  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Insurers & Property Protection - Part 5

    In LWF’s blog series for those professionals who work in facilities management or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at property protection and the role of the insurer. In part 4, some of the history that led to property insurance from fire was given and in part 5, we will continue looking at how different the early insurers could be from what we know today.While the...

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  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & External Water Supplies - Part 23

    In LWFs fire engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at the subject of firefighting. In part 22, we gave information on some of the regulations and guidance documents which deal with the issue of provision of fire hydrants. In part 23, we continue from that point by looking at who should provide them and where they should be placed in relation to the building.

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Access & Facilities for the Fire Service - Part 57

    In LWFs 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 56 of this series, LWF spent time looking at the access required by Fire and Rescue Service vehicles to healthcare buildings not fitted with fire mains. In part 57, LWF will continue looking at those measures which should be taken to ensure the Fire Service has access to...

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Case Studies

The Wohl Neuroscience Institute - Fire Safety, Strategy & Engineering
Key Facts: Client: King’s Clinical Neuroscience Institute Project Manager: MACE Ltd Designers: Devereux Architects/Allies and Morrison Approximate Size: 7,400m2 Description of the Project:...

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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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