The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Part 21

November 25, 2019 2:11 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 20, LWF began to look at people who can be classed as Competent Persons as per the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In part 21, LWF will discuss the Competent Persons nominated to undertake firefighting activities within their place of work.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), Article 13(3) (RRFSO) requires that the Responsible Person must take measures for firefighting in the premises and that they should nominate Competent Persons to undertake the activities as necessary. It is only necessary that they nominate an adequate number of persons to the role and the amount decided upon might be based on the number of employees overall or the size of the building, or areas of the building in which people are based.

There is flexibility because situations vary considerably and the solution has to be appropriate. It is important, however, to note that any person nominated as a Competent Person must undergo training for the activities they are tasked with and that any person who is not nominated and does not undergo training must never be asked to undertake any firefighting activity.

It is important that those persons nominated are willing, as no employer can force an employee to tackle a fire. It is necessary, and expected as per the RRFSO, for the Responsible Person to ensure there are sufficient willing nominees. It should be recognised that a simple, small wastepaper basket fire could be effectively tackled by suitably trained employees rather than allowing a small fire to develop whilst awaiting Fire Service attendance. This early intervention is likely to bring benefits in terms of reducing the risk to life as well as reducing the level of damage caused by a fire.

Article 15(3) of the RRFSO defines competence of the Competent Person as having received sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable the person to properly implement the fire-fighting measures. In simple terms, anyone expected to use fire extinguishers must be properly trained in their use.

Competent persons may not just be tasked with firefighting duties. Article 18(1) requires that the Responsible Person must appoint one or more Competent Persons to assist with undertaking ‘preventive and protective measures’.

In part 22, LWF will look into the role and duties of the Competent Persons required to assist the Responsible Person in preventive and protective measures. 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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