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 Training Requirements

The importance of fire safety training is commonly underestimated.  Whilst significant resources are often ploughed into fire safety systems, it is often noted that many building occupiers do not have an adequate understanding of the building and what facilities are in place to prevent the occurrence of fire / fire spread, as well as the importance of other features such as the means of escape design.

It must be noted that there should be a minimum of two levels of fire safety training provided, depending on the responsibility of individuals.  A standard fire safety training package should be delivered to all staff.  Training beyond this minimum requirement will depend upon the size and use of the building, the number of occupants, along with other factors.

The standard fire safety package should be a bespoke package, which the building users can then relate to.  Experience indicates that generic fire safety training is sometimes seen as a ‘tick box’ exercise, whereas occupants tend to become more involved and aware when the training / advice is directed to them and their environment directly.  Simple matters such as telling people to keep fire doors closed (in a generic package) will be far less effective than telling people which doors are fire doors and why?  The majority of people, know that fire doors need to be shut, but when the importance of this (in a bespoke package) can be communicated, the effectiveness is far greater.  For example, if occupants are given the knowledge that a certain fire door is in place to protect the escape route for themselves / colleagues, it can focus the mind and provide reasoning to such provisions.

Additional fire safety training should be given to any persons that are required to undertake a specific role.  This can range from Fire Wardens / Marshals, Health & Safety Manager, Building / Facilities Management, Fire Safety Manager etc and the roles will be heavily dependent on the organisation / number of occupants etc.  The training provided to these persons must be to a greater level to ensure they understand all fire safety provisions, including the justification for their provision and the legislative requirements placed upon them.  Whilst they do not need to be Fire Engineers, they must have sufficient knowledge to ensure they know the relevance of fire safety precautions.  This knowledge is paramount in certain situations such as contractors undertaking works within a building, for example knowing which walls can be compromised by service penetrations with no remedial attention and which walls are required to prevent the passage of fire/smoke, thus requiring appropriate fire stopping.  Similarly, should any alteration works be undertaken, such as modifying a space, e.g. from open plan to cellular design.  A number of elements within fire safety precautions are critical but are not always obvious to the ‘untrained eye’, hence the need for training to this level.  Having a level of knowledge will ensure that decisions can be made as well as ensuring a level of understanding that will lead to further advice being sought to ensure the correct decision.  This decision making process is fundamental, as there is two common ways an incorrect decision is found out.  Either enforcement, whereby relevant authorities inspect the building and find deficiencies which can lead to breaches in legislation or when a fire occurs and the building does not achieve the required fire safety design objectives, which can have catastrophic results, as well as legislative implications.

The responsibilities for training staff is not always clear.  Often contract staff, agency staff or support staff are not directly employed.  However, they still require a level of fire safety training.  The responsibility for this training can be via in-house training or can be a requirement of the operative’s employer.  A clear agreement and understanding must be in place.

Fire safety training provides substantial benefits for a relatively small expenditure in monetary and time terms.  The ‘human element’ is commonly a part in the failings from which fires can start and develop.  Some very simple steps undertaken by building occupants can have a significant effect on the prevention of fire and the effects of fire, should it occur.

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 22

    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 21, the issue of whether a building needs to supply a source of water for the Fire Service to use upon attending a fire was discussed. In part 22, we continue looking at the regulations dealing with water hydrants.In the UK, BS 5306:1 was published in 1976 (and withdrawn...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Access & Facilities for the Fire Service - Part 56

    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 55 of this series, we began looking at the importance of access by road for the Fire Service and which entrances should be used for their access. In part 56, LWF will continue looking at those measures which should be taken to ensure the Fire Service has access...

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  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Fire Safety Objectives - Part 3

    In LWFs 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 property protection and the insurer. In part 2, it was ascertained that while there is a legal requirement for buildings to be fire safe in order to ensure the safe evacuation of the building occupants, there is no legal requirement for precautions which are designed for the protection...

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  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & External Water Supplies - Part 21

    In LWF’s fire engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design we have been looking at firefighting. In part 20, an outline of how the water carried by a fire engine is used with the hoses to provide a limited time supply of water to fight a fire. In part 21, we continue from that point.As a fire engine can only carry a limited amount of water, a large fire will...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Access & Facilities for the Fire Service - Part 55

    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 54 of this series, we finished our discussion on ventilation for car parks as part of healthcare buildings. In part 55, we move on to look at the provision of access and facilities for the Fire Service both in terms of general requirements and those particular to healthcare...

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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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