The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Prevention – Part 92

April 6, 2021 12:10 pm

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 91, LWF began to look at fire prevention and its importance. In part 92, we continue discussing fire prevention and touch on a specific cause of fire – arson.

Fire prevention can be seen as the less interesting sibling to fire protection. Indeed, not many people would think discussing appropriate storage and disposal of rubbish was as stimulating as a new fire alarm system or sprinkler system. Fire prevention is, however, much more important than fire protection, which should only ever be complementary to the main aim of stopping fires happening at all.

The holistic approach to fire safety demands equal attention to fire prevention and fire protection. A fire risk assessment, which must be carried out as per the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, ensures that consideration of fire hazards involves how to prevent a fire, as well as how to protect from a fire if it occurs.

Arson can be challenging to prevent, however the potential for it must be addressed and that is likely to involve issues of security. Building security and fire safety are often considered to be conflicting aims, because means of escape from a building in case of fire must take precedence over security measures – and conversely, security measures can be seen as restricting means of escape from a building.

BS 8220-3:2004 – Guide for security of buildings against crime. Storage, industrial and distribution premises is a standard which provides guidance on the security of buildings, and the following can be related to the prevention of arson attacks:

  • Boundaries should be secured to protect against intruders. Where this applies to a site rather than a building, this relates to the provision and maintenance of fences or walls of adequate height and strength. Where it relates to a building, all doors should be capable of being securely fastened against access from outside, including fire exits. Fire exits should have methods of opening from the inside, such as panic bars, which can be used in a fire situation. Windows should be secured against potential ingress from outside.


In part 93 of this series, LWF will continue looking at how security affects arson and discussing the standards relevant in BS 8220. 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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