The LWF Blog
Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire & Staff Training – Part 226November 6, 2023 12:09 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 225, LWF discussed often-seen fire protection products – fire blankets and hose reels. In part 226, we begin to talk about staff fire safety and equipment training.
As first-aid firefighting equipment, such as extinguishers and hose reels, are a necessity in most premises, it is important that members of staff are trained in its use. Members of staff should receive proper instruction and training to use all fire extinguishing equipment available on the premises in which they work, with the only exceptions likely to be fire blankets which should be used only by kitchen staff.
Some employers do not feel that all staff being trained in first-aid firefighting is a desirable requirement and their opinions are based on the practical issues of instructing a large number of staff or a fear that their staff may be harmed if they are seen to encourage them to fight fires.
However, there are firm indications that such measures are necessary and should be carried out as soon after employees begin their period of employment as possible.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires premises be provided with appropriate fire-fighting equipment where necessary and that measures must be taken for first-aid firefighting with adequately trained persons available to implement the measures. This would indicate that it isn’t enough to simply train one willing person to deal with first-aid firefighting issues. If that person is absent, out, in the bathroom etc., then the fire could grow beyond that which can be dealt with by a member of staff and could even have the potential to harm other employees.
Most premises are provided with fire extinguishers and/or hose reels. These are not normally used by the Fire Service upon attending a fire and are therefore intended for use by people on the premises. It would not be appropriate for a member of staff to attempt to use extinguishers without proper training, as this would be regarded as a risk to occupants. The principle of health and safety requires that where safety equipment is available, employees should be trained in its use and a failure to do so might mean liability falls to the company if someone were injured.
In part 227 of this series, LWF will continue to look at how organisations may approach fire equipment and training of staff. 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 35 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.