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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Prevention & Heating – Part 104

June 28, 2021 11:21 am

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 103, LWF considered how smokers’ materials affect fire safety and fire prevention planning in facilities management.  In part 104, we look at the potential for fire danger from sources of heating.

The type of heating used in a building can have a significant effect on the likelihood of fire as a result. Central heating installations, for instance, have a tendency to cause fewer fires than local heating appliances. Overall, fixed heating installations too, are safer than the use of portable heaters. Within the portable heating category, an oil filled electric portable radiator has been found to cause less instances of fire than an electric fan heater. Overall, portable heaters should be avoided wherever possible, or treated with care when there is no alternative.

The electrical installations powering electric heaters must comply with the Wiring Regulations (BS 7671/IET Wiring Regulations) and be installed by competent persons.

Gas appliances must be installed in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 which do not cover installations in factories, but which may be used as general guidance for installations in factories. Any gas appliances should be installed by a Gas Safe registered installer. The regulations for all places of work state that any gas appliances, pipework and associated flues should be maintained to a safe condition, a requirement which will necessitate periodic inspection and testing in accordance with codes of practice.

In residential premises, the property landlord is responsible for ensuring a Gas Safe registered installer checks appliances and flues annually.

Many of the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of heating appliances could be classed as ‘sensible use’. A clear space should be made around any source of heat, so there is a free circulation of air and combustible materials cannot ignite. Depending upon the situation, adequate guards may need to be installed to ensure the space around the heat source is protected. No combustible construction should be in proximity to hot flue pipes. Any local appliances should be fixed to a non-combustible surface. Where there is the potential for the area to contain flammable liquids or gases, any heating appliance should be of a suitable type.

In part 105 of this series, LWF continue looking at fire precautions and heating appliances. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 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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