Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Content of Fire Training - Part 17

Posted by LWF: 11/10/2018 11:36

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 what elements should be included in staff fire training. In part 16, we discussed the inclusion of general fire precautions in fire safety training and began to look at fire drills including the legislation that makes them compulsory. In part 17, we will continue from that point.

Despite the necessary nature of fire drills, they are not always taken seriously by employees or management as they often considered an unnecessary interruption to day-to-day business. Fire drills however, can be useful to highlight potential issues, a common issue being that occupants fail to use the nearest fire exit, instead taking the route they are most familiar with and used to following. Such mistakes can increase the evacuation time and be potentially dangerous in a fire situation.

The evacuation time is considered the time taken between the alarm sounding and the last person evacuating the building and this should be noted at each fire drill. Where premises have more than one stairway, the use of one should be prohibited to ensure that all employees are forced to use alternative routes. Fire drills should aim to force employees to utilise various different routes each time to ensure all scenarios are considered. Acceptable evacuation times should still be possible with alternative routes in use.

Each fire drill should be commenced by one employee being asked to operate the manual call point before each and every occupant evacuates the building, including any persons with mobility issues, disabilities and senior management. Exemptions should only be made where it is critical a person remains in the building for the continuous operation of some essential task. Where possible, the same person should not be asked to remain working for two consecutive fire drills. The details of the exemption, the reasons and the person asked to remain inside must be kept.

In a real fire situation, there is never a reason for a person to stay inside the building and no such thing as an essential task that must be run continuously.
After a fire drill has taken place, a debrief must be undertaken to review the outcomes and isolate and solve any potential problems. The results should be minuted at company health and safety meetings.

Next time, LWF’s blog series will begin looking at the subject of Fire Safety Engineering. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.

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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