The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Content of Fire Training – Part 15

September 27, 2018 1:02 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 staff training and fire drills. In part 14 of this series, the need to include the actions which should be taken on hearing the fire alarm in all staff training was discussed. In part 15, the location and use of fire extinguishing appliances and how this should be addressed through training will be addressed.

While no business or organisation should insist that employees attempt to tackle a fire using portable fire extinguishing appliances, it has been shown that in the case of a small fire, early employee intervention can ensure that a small fire does not grow into a large one. It should also be noted at this point that even if an employee extinguishes a fire with a portable appliance, all actions that would normally be taken in a fire situation should go ahead as planned and the Fire Service should still be called to attend.

During fire training, it is important that all employees are made aware of the situation of fire extinguishers within the building, particularly those which are closest to their normal working location. This awareness can avoid any unnecessary delay in searching out a suitable appliance, which may be able to deal with a small fire.

Employees must be made aware of the colour coding of portable fire extinguishers and the types of fire for which they are designed. In order to avoid confusion, a building should only contain one type of colour coding protocol, as a mixture of several different types of code could cause mistakes to be made.

A demonstration of how a fire extinguisher works and an opportunity to handle one themselves should be given to the employees undergoing training. Ideally, if the situation allows, those being trained should be allowed to use a fire extinguisher on a fire in order to see the method at work and to gain an understanding of the extinguisher’s capacity.


While such practical demonstrations and training are not always possible in the workplace and may require transportation to another location, it is imperative that those employees with specific responsibilities in case of a fire are as well-informed as possible.


Such roles might include fire wardens, security officers and any personnel who will be charged with giving fire instruction to other employees.

While practical demonstrations and sessions are important, if this cannot be achieved during normal fire training, the extinguishers should be on hand to be shown to those being trained, along with a demonstration video of one in use.

In part 16 of this series, LWF will continue on the subject of fire safety training for staff, starting with general fire precautions. 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 0208 668 8663.

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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