The LWF Blog
Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Community Fire Safety – Part 7June 24, 2019 1:09 pm
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 6, we looked at the impressive evidence for the success of Community Fire Safety (CFS) initiatives in England. In part 7, we talk about some of the less typical CFS activities which have taken place.
Most CFS projects relate to subject you might already be familiar with, such as the smoke-alarm campaigns, home fire safety checks and fire safety education in schools in the UK. In more extreme cases, fire suppression systems have even been provided and installed.
The financial backing of CFS projects by the Government has led to some innovative and creative initiatives being instigated by the fire and rescue service which have been targeted at some very specific risks in certain sections of the community.
Some examples of the more unusual and specific measures are the provision of fire-retardant bedding for smokers who are bedridden, the replacing of old upholstered furniture with fire-retardant furniture and providing fireguards for open fires, along with the exchange of dangerous portable heaters for safer options, or the simple removal of dangerous heaters where appropriate.
While it may seem that the Fire Service should not have to spend community fire safety funds on specific products to safeguard individual households, the benefits outweigh the initial outlay, as the cost of the Fire Service attending a fire at a domicile far exceeds that of preventing the fire from starting.
Local councils have provided Fire and Rescue Services with information on areas of potential concern, and both agencies have worked together to eradicate such fire hazards as fly-tipping sites and abandoned vehicles, both of which are potentially a target for arson.
Community Fire Safety activities are not just carried out by the Fire Service themselves. Voluntary organisations, such as the Fire Support Network in Merseyside (which is the voluntary arm of the Fire and Rescue Service) have undertaken some unusual and imaginative fire safety projects.
The Fire Support Network were able to provide an elderly high-risk resident of the area with a dog who was trained to respond to the sound of a fire alarm. Upon hearing the alarm, the dog would shut the door of the occupant’s room, put a cloth against the bottom of the door and initiate communications with a control centre.
Obviously, such dogs are a rarity, as are the conditions requiring one. The group also undertook useful but more widespread initiatives, such as cleaning the ovens of vulnerable adults to reduce instances of oven fires in the Wirral, an area where two oven fires a week were being attended.
In part 8 of this series, LWF will look at Community Fire Safety in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 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.