Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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E-mail: fire@lwf.co.uk

Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Community Fire Safety - Part 8

Posted by LWF: 01/07/2019 14:44

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 discussing community fire safety. In part 7, some of the voluntary work on community safety in England was explored, including one instance where a dog was trained to respond to the fire alarm and take steps to save the life of an elderly high-risk person. In part 8, we consider the work undertaken in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

So far in our blogs on community fire safety, the majority of the information has related to government initiatives carried out in England only, or in England and Wales. The Welsh Assembly and the Welsh fire and rescue service also worked with Firebrake Wales, which was a charitable organisation. The work of the organisation seems to have been ongoing up to 2011 and the organisation itself was dissolved in 2015. Its key objective was to reduce the number of deaths and injuries through fire in Wales by education, promotion and research. 

Much of the work undertaken in England and Wales was also carried out in Scotland and Northern Ireland where policies and initiatives concerning fire and rescue services are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.  The Scottish Executive and Department of Health in Northern Ireland have both worked alongside the fire and rescue services to undertake community fire safety activities.

The Scottish Executive funded and operated a campaign promoting domestic safety on TV, radio and through the press called’ Don’t give fire a home’ until 2012.

Northern Ireland has one fire and rescue service and operates community safety initiatives alongside the community development directorate. In 2009, it was reported that 98% of homes in Northern Ireland had at least one fire alarm installed. In 2005, the NI Fire Service began providing 10 year battery smoke alarms. The NI Fire and Rescue Service have reported 99% of all homes have a working fire alarm on their annual key performance indicators for the five years up to 2015, although how this figure is quantified is not clear as it would not seem practical for each house to be checked on an annual basis. It is also unclear what the main challenges faced by the Fire and Rescue Service might be in accessing and making safe that final 1% without smoke alarms. 

However the Fire and Rescue Services, Community Voluntary Groups and government are approaching and maintaining community fire safety, it is certainly the case that measurable reductions in dwelling fires, accidental fire deaths, instances of arson and hoax calls are concrete proof that community fire safety programmes work.

LWF’s Fire Safety for Facilities Management blog series will continue for all those offering support services to organisations. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years' experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings. 

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF's publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.


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