The LWF Blog

Fire Safety: Security vs ‘Escapability’ – Balancing competing factors – Pt Three – Management Procedures

May 29, 2014 11:17 am

In order to gain maximum protection for your facility in terms of security, consideration needs to be given to the ways that this can be contra to fire safety and means of escape requirements. In the third and final part of this blog series, we will look at how management procedures can help to maximise the effects of the physical systems in place and ensure the efficacy of both the security and fire protection systems.

An effective and studiously-followed management procedure can be a very effective tool against both security and fire safety issues. It is essential, of course, that the procedure has been through certain processes prior to instigation and at regular intervals during the lifespan of the processes.

  1. That the process has been accepted by the board and backed fully
  2. That the process has been explained to staff in detail
  3. That any staff training necessary to ensure its success is completed
  4. That records are kept of its efficiency and success/failure to show areas of concern
  5. That regular reviews and refreshers take place

With a carefully prepared management procedure, a full evacuation, for instance, can be a smooth and safe process for all concerned. No alarm system or sensor can provide that and so there are times when only a management procedure can get the job done.

Another example of when management procedures are important is when considering building security during working hours. A full security system with door locks cannot prevent the attack of an unmanned reception area by an arsonist, for instance. It is important, therefore, that there is a structure in place that supports the physical security system of the building with human oversight.

One essential management practice that must be in place is Fire Safety training for all staff who work on site. This also applies to temporary or agency staff. A basic fire safety training session should incorporate information such as where the fire exits are, where the fire extinguishers are placed, which fire extinguisher to use for each type of fire, how to use a fire extinguisher, evacuation procedures and calling for assistance from the Fire Service.

It is a legal requirement that all staff members receive fire safety training and that it is done in a timely fashion, ideally on the first day of work.

When thinking about building security, often the person responsible considers all the doors and windows, the alarm systems and security panels and fails to consider the outside apron of the premises, after all – outside is outside, isn’t it? Well, not always. It can be important to consider the outside of your building and surrounding grounds in terms of both facility security and fire safety.

Check that there is not rubbish stacked against the outside wall of a building. Not only could pallets, for instance, serve as an aid to climbing the building to find a skylight or upper window (often upper windows have less security than lower level windows) in order to break into the premises; rubbish stacked against the side of the building can be a fire hazard too which could cause fire spread through non fire-resistant walls.

In summary, it is important to address the physical forms of protection that are available to ensure security and fire safety for your premises and those inside, but it is equally important to put into place management procedures that can support and supplement those systems.

If you have any queries about this blog or would like to speak to someone about your building’s security and fire safety provision, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663. LWF have been working with their clients for over 25 years to promote and provide fire safe design and planning.

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