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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Prevention & Protection – Part 70

November 2, 2020 2:39 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 69, LWF considered the nature and scope of fire precautions. In part 70, we look at the terms ‘fire prevention’ and ‘fire protection’.

When undertaking a fire risk assessment, the two types of fire precautions ‘fire prevention’ and ‘fire protection’ will naturally occur. The first – fire prevention – relates to any methods employed to prevent fire occurring and the second – fire protection – concerns those protections put in place for if fire does occur. In terms of the fire risk assessment, the remedies taken to avoid fire hazards are fire prevention measures, and those taken to limit the consequences of fire are fire protection measures.

Fire Prevention

BS 4422 is a fire vocabulary reference and defines fire prevention as measures to prevent the outbreak of a fire. Fire prevention measures can be very diverse, as they include management procedures as well as physical measures to reduce the potential for the occurrence of fire.

A ‘No Smoking’ sign could be seen as a fire prevention method, training on the safe storage of combustibles for staff certainly would fall under fire prevention and the regular checking of electrical installations and the fitting of a residual current device to an electrical installation, thus reducing the chances of a fire starting, is certainly fire prevention.

Fire Protection

BS 4422 states that fire protection is any measure taken in the design or equipment of buildings or other structures to reduce danger from fire. Fire protection measures can be extremely diverse. The fabric of a building with fire-resistant construction is a fire protection measure, just as much as a complex fire alarm system or sprinkler system. (Some forms of fire protection measure are classed as ‘passive’ and some as ‘active’, more detail will be given in later blogs).

Fire protection measures can be employed to limit fire exposure to one of three categories – people, property and business continuity, although most references will simply refer to life protection and property protection.

Legislation requires any persons who may be present on the premises be protected from fire, whereas protection against financial loss is not required by law but may be required by the building’s insurers or adopted to protect business interests and assets.

In part 71, LWF will continue to look at life protection and property protection. 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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