The LWF Blog
Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire Procedures – Part 1June 21, 2018 12:24 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 are going to look at the necessity for sufficient and suitable fire procedures within an organisation.
Over the years, it has become an established fact that a majority of fatalities in non-domestic premises do not happen because of a failure of equipment or a lack of standards, but because of the incorrect response of building occupants. It has also been shown that far from these incidents being caused due to panic, that most building occupants do not respond quickly or seriously enough to an incidence of fire on the premises.
It is true that many tragedies occur in buildings which are able to satisfy current legislative requirements and where the only variable capable of making a difference is that of the people inside the building at the time of the fire.
Fire procedures are therefore a very important part of protecting the building and its occupants from fire.
Unless the building is very unusual or complicated, fire procedures are best kept reasonably simple and written to fit the requirements of the building and its occupants. It is not normally necessary for a specialist to be involved in the compilation of the fire procedures.
Fire procedures may include the shutting down of equipment in an industrial building, but, for example, waiting for a computer to log out of Windows and shut down in an office building would be inappropriate.
Fire procedures must take into account arrangements for the evacuation of people with disabilities or conditions which may affect their ability to evacuate safely and quickly. If disabled staff normally work in the building, they must be involved in the preparation of a personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) to ensure they are safe in case of a fire.
It is important to note that even if no people with disabilities work in the building and members of the public are not invited into the building, the fire procedures must take people with disabilities into account. It is not possible to predict who will or will not be in the building in the future and the arrangements can be extended to people with temporary conditions such as advanced pregnancy or limited mobility due to accident or injury.
In part 2 of this series, LWF will look at who the fire procedures are written ‘for’ and what action should be taken once a fire is discovered. 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.