The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Summoning the Fire Service – Part 4

July 12, 2018 1:48 pm

In LWF’s blogs for those who work in Facilities Management or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at the importance of summoning the Fire Service to any incidence of fire and how, in an organisational setting, this should be planned and carried out. In part 3, we looked at who should make the call, how the call should be made even in cases of use of an ARC (alarm receiving centre) and how the call should be made promptly after sounding of the fire alarm. In part 4, we will continue looking at those practical arrangements that should be a part of the fire procedures involving calling the Fire Service.


While many buildings have a continuously manned location, such as a switchboard, reception or security desk and in the case of fire it is that position which should be designated to make the call to the Fire Service, some organisations do not have such. In these cases, the responsibility for making the call should still be pre-planned. Where possible the duty should be assigned to a position, such as duty manager or supervisor, no matter which individual is filling that position at the given time. For example, if there is always a manager on site, the person filling that role should make the call, rather than the responsibility being given to Judy who is a manager who is often, but not always, on site.


In smaller premises, where it is not practical to allocate the responsibility for calling the Fire Service to a role on site, the responsibility should be placed with the person who discovered the fire. The necessity for carrying out this duty should be laid out in the fire procedures and made clear in all fire training.


Although it is desirable to designate the role, a less formal approach clearly detailed in the fire procedures and instilled in the workers can be sufficient. In addition, thought must be given to procedures for summoning the Fire Service outside normal working hours.


While it is important that the call is made as soon as practically possible, this does not mean that the caller should put themselves in any further danger in order to do so. When the person who discovers the fire is to make the call, they should retreat to a safe area of the building, to another building or simply outside the building if they are able to call from a mobile phone. It is never appropriate to enter further into the building away from an exit or to go to a telephone on a higher floor than the floor of fire origin. Such decisions can mean evacuation from the building is compromised.


In part 5 of this series, we will look at extinguishing the fire and what action should be taken on hearing the fire alarm. 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.


Share this post