The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Community Fire Safety – Part 5

June 10, 2019 1:05 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 looking at domestic fire safety and the related initiatives in the UK. In part 4, we discussed how useful fire safety education for children has been in influencing fire-safe behaviour in the home. In part 5, we consider home fire risk checks before looking at the evidence of successful community fire safety initiatives.


In 2004, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) commenced an initiative called the ‘Home Fire Risk Check Initiative’. The Home Fire Risk Check Initiative was Government funded to the capital amount of £25m by 2008. The funding and initiative were provided in part to assist Fire and Rescue Services meet their Public Service Agreement targets to reduce fire deaths in the home.


The alarms installed under the HFRC grant contributed to a substantial decrease in accidental fire deaths when comparing data from the two-year period before commencement of the scheme and the two years after (2005-2007). The HFRC grant enabled 1,967,924 home fire risk checks which ensured the installation of 2,407,651 alarms. By the end of the HFRC grant relating to the period 2004 – Q3 2007, it was associated with 13,670 fewer fires and 888 fewer non-fatal casualties each year. The estimated reduction in fire deaths per year is 53.


It is true, however, that prior to this initiative, the majority of Fire Service areas were already offering home checks and fire alarms to some or all sections of the community. The additional funding undoubtedly assisted them in providing an extended service. The home fire risk check involves firefighters visiting people’s homes and using a simple questionnaire to identify fire risk and hazards which enables them to give tailored advice to householders on fire prevention, fire escape plans as well as advising adequate fire detection and providing long-life battery-operated smoke alarms.


The Fire Prevention Grant (FPG) was also a government-led and funded initiative that took place from 2006 to 2008. The FPG enabled Fire Services to undertake more innovative projects which they would not otherwise have been able to do. This included specialist home fire risk checks for individuals with sensory losses, or from different cultural backgrounds or who were at risk from domestic violence. The fund also allowed for the creation of Community Fire Safety staff roles to undertake advocacy work, and helped provide resource for youth education, arson prevention, local area clean ups, road safety courses and other associated activities.


In part 6 of this series, LWF will consider some of the evidence indicating Community Fire Safety activity has been successful. 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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