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The intention of this bulletin is to bring awareness to managers within organisations who may have a responsibility for fire safety and of factors that should be considered when making decisions related to fire safety provision standards and investment. A further aim is to show how the concept of fire risk assessment can be used to further the quality of the fire related decision-making process.
It is commonly thought that the widespread use of alarm bells as multipurpose indicators as well as a fire warning signal has undermined its effectiveness to the point where the signal is frequently disregarded as a test, false alarm or having another meaning of which it is not treated as urgent. In this bulletin we consider the merits of a voice alarm system where the fire warning signal includes a worded speech message which gives clear instructions resulting in a reduced reaction time and therefore a total evacuation to a place of safety.
It is accepted that fire spread rarely occurs by heat transfer through walls, floors and ceilings within compartmented buildings. It is more likely that fire will spread through open doors, unenclosed stairways and unprotected penetrations in fire barriers, therefore the effective means of fire stopping is crucial in containing a fire at it’s source. In this bulletin we consider a selection of fire stopping products which is fast becoming a rapidly developing sector within the passive fire protection industry.
Often fire training, which is a mandatory requirement, is treated as a chore and is mis-focused or not undertaken at all. This approach misses the opportunity to co-ordinate emergency and evacuation procedures and to provide potential protection to people occupying a premises and to the processes and content of the buildings. We address in this bulletin the primary areas upon which to focus and plan effective training.
In all organisations fire safety managers should be part of the overall disaster plan to ensure continuity across all fire safety issues. However in the present financial climate it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep pace with new requirements and higher standards of fire precautions in both passive and active areas. This together with an increase in fire losses means that fire precautions are now becoming a major concern for the safety conscious manager.
Establishing the correct level of expenditure for the design and installation of an alarm and detection system can be an extremely frustrating process. All professionals involved in this decision making process need to be aware of the fine balance between what is required in order to provide early warning in the event of fire and the cost against risk for life safety and property protection. In this edition we consider the cost of providing such systems and how to optimise those costs in order to get the best value for money.
Often in any occupied building the first person to attend a reported fire will be the premises fire marshall or warden with delegated duties. It is essential that those first on the scene have a thorough knowledge of fire growth and it’s development. This will enable a sound judgement to be made with respect to safe first aid fire fighting and when it becomes prudent to evacuate. In this bulletin we concentrate on the subject of fire growth and it’s development.
Fire safety signs have been a requirement within the UK for many years for the purpose of warning occupants of hazards and indicating safe exit routes and actions. However in 1992 the European Union recognised the need to adopt a consistent approach to safety signage across all its member States. In this edition we address the issue of fire safety signs and the Health & Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.
Statistics show that hot works are one of the most common causes of fire in premises to day. Fires, which occur during maintenance and construction works, can often be avoided with an effective and formalised written permit system in place. In this edition we consider the merits of issuing contractors with sufficient information on the building’s fire precautions / evacuation procedures and the need for a permit to work system.
In this edition we address the issue of portable fire extinguishers. Owners and occupiers of premises where people work are legally obliged to provide suitable fire fighting equipment, to ensure that each appliance is properly maintained and is immediately obvious and readily accessible in the event of fire. Hand held extinguishers and people who know how to use them are often the first line of defence against a possible disaster and therefore one cannot overstate the importance of this simple and inexpensive form of protection. We also address recent changes made by the EU to the colour coding of fire extinguishers.