The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Part 20

November 18, 2019 2:04 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 19, LWF looked at persons other than the Responsible Person who may be considered to have control of the premises at different times. In part 20, people who can be classed as Competent Persons are discussed.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), Article 15(1)(b) lays out a requirement for each Responsible Person to nominate sufficient numbers of competent persons to implement the fire procedures in relation to evacuation from the premises. A similar requirement was given in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations to appoint fire wardens capable of implementing procedures for situations involving serious and imminent danger.

A competent person can be defined as one who has sufficient training, experience and/or knowledge to enable them to implement the evacuation procedures. It is important that fire wardens/competent persons receive adequate training to undertake the tasks given and that refresher training and drills are carried out as per the RRFSO.

It’s worth noting that these requirements should be implemented on a scale. If there is a large business with a Responsible Person in charge of fire safety issues, they will need to nominate sufficient Competent Persons to carry out the evacuation efficiently. In a small organisation, with less than 10 employees for example, it may be sufficient for the evacuation procedures to be carried out by the Responsible Person themselves, provided that they too have adequate training and experience.

Competent Persons are not solely tasked with evacuation procedural responsibilities. Article 13(3) of the RRFSO indicates that the Responsible Person should, where deemed necessary, take measures for fire-fighting on the premises. In essence, where it is practical to do so and the situation, premises and type of activity permits, Competent Persons should be nominated to facilitate first-aid firefighting using the provided equipment. The likely provided equipment is most commonly hose reels, fire blankets or fire extinguishers. The Competent Persons may be charged with ensuring that any and all persons who might discover a fire are adequately trained in the use of the provided firefighting equipment and how to use it.

Depending upon the size of the organisation and its staff, a percentage of willing employees might be designated to the task and training, or in a smaller organisation, it might even be possible to train and equip all employees to tackle small fires which start on the premises.
While an organisation can never insist that its employees attempt to fight a fire on the premises, the requirement to nominate suitable personnel and provide training is absolute.

In part 21 of this series on fire safety legislation, LWF will continue discussing the duties of Competent Persons as per the RRFSO. 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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