The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Staff Training & Fire Drills – Part 11

August 30, 2018 1:10 pm

LWF’s blog series for Facilities Management, or for those with an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, has been looking at Fire Procedures. Part 10 finished by considering those roles which may be named specifically in the Fire Procedures alongside the relevant duties. In part 11, we take a look at staff training and fire drills and their importance in a fire safe organisation.


While staff training and fire drills are closely associated, they are not, in fact, the same thing. Many people think of fire drills as being all that is necessary in terms of staff training but it is just a part of those duties which an organisation has to its staff in relation to fire safety. Fire drills are important and necessary but do not educate employees in all matters.


Some companies claim that is neither necessary nor practicable for all employees to receive full fire training while others seem to manage the matter quite easily and incorporate proper training for all employees as a matter of course. While the sole issue has not been tested in a court of law and prosecutions relating to fire training are rare in isolation, a lack of fire training has been cited along with other offences when prosecution is undertaken by the enforcing authorities.


Adequate fire training should be given to all employees where at all possible, even though the benefits of such investment may only come to fruition if a fire were to happen in the building.


The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland state that employees must be given adequate fire training upon induction and periodically thereafter. The order also states that all employees should be given information regarding fire procedures, arrangements for fire-fighting and general fire precautions.


The format of initial fire safety training in the workplace may vary. Where an induction takes place on the first day, fire training should be given as a part of that.


Where induction takes place but is not necessarily held on the first day, the main fire training should be given during induction, provided that all new employees are given basic information concerning escape routes, fire procedures and fire alarms on their first day on the premises. Each new employee should receive a tour of the escape routes including any alternative routes on their first day.


Where no formal induction takes place, detailed instructions on fire matters should be provided to them in written format, normally alongside verbal instruction. Consideration should be given to format particularly in cases where literacy might be poor, or where sight might be impaired.


A possible alternative to ‘live’ training is to provide computer-based fire safety training learning packages. Standard information is not appropriate in leaflet or computer form, all information given must be tailored to the building or buildings in question.


LWF will continue looking at fire safety training in part 12 of this series. 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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