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 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 - 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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