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 Safety, Planning for the Future

The current economic situation will have an effect on most people, either personally, professionally, or both.  However, few of us will consider the effects of economics in terms of fire safety.

Cuts, cuts, cuts

Whilst this appears to be a tabloid headline, this is reality.  Central Government and Local Authorities are likely to have less money available for public sector services, an important part of which, in relation to Fire Safety, is the Fire & Rescue Service.  Much has been said about the protection of ‘frontline services’ and at this early stage it is difficult to predict what will happen in the coming months and years.  What is important however, is to understand that our Fire & Rescue Services are likely to have to change the way they respond.  Changes have been evident over recent years, for example, Fire Authorities not attending some monitored Automatic Fire Alarms (AFA) calls unless the call is ‘backed up’ with a phone call.  Similarly, the Pre Determined Attendance (PDA) may have been altered, likely reduced, therefore any incident should be called in via the ‘999’ system with as many details as possible to ensure the emergency services can provide the correct response.

Civil Unrest

Once more, a potential tabloid headline, however, in the current climate, some consideration must be made.  As seen in recent times, not all demonstrations, rallies etc are peaceful.  Unfortunately, fire is sometimes used as a weapon against the authorities and/or certain establishments.  Whilst this may not form part of our normal considerations, during these times, failure to give such topics any consideration could mean paying a high price.  A number of factors will influence the perceived risk level, including the type of building, business function and location.

Understanding responsibilities

It would be fair to say that we are fortunate to currently enjoy an excellent level of cover from the Fire & Rescue Services and as it stands, in most instances they go above and beyond their statutory obligations and assist us in every possible way.  However, with their current response levels potentially being reduced, it must be ensured that responsible persons are meeting all of their legal obligations.  A key area in this respect is evacuation, particularly where there are persons that require assistance to evacuate.  It would be fair to say that much reliance has been placed on Fire Service assistance and this has generally been available.  In the future, this may not be the case and the responsible person must ensure adequate provision is made for evacuation.

Disgruntled employees

Once more, a somewhat surprising heading on a fire safety article.  Unemployment is a reality facing us in the current climate.  There are a significant number of cases where persons who have had their employment terminated have chosen to set fires within the premises.  This has been done on the day of termination as well as a less reactive response where arson has been committed some time after.  Due to the potential access employees / ex-employees have this can be difficult to prevent, however, each building and case should be considered on its merit.  Closed Circuit Television can be used as a security measure to act as a deterrent, alongside other practical security measures.

Fire Risk Assessment

The key to any changing climate is the fifth stage of the risk assessment process – Review.  The changes highlighted above should fall into the constant review of the FRA which, in turn, may alter the residual risk level, requiring additional compensation features to reduce the risk to a tolerable level.

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.

 

 

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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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