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Fire Safety | Maintenance of Active Fire Protection Systems

Posted: 10/09/2013 16:26

In general, all commercial and public buildings in the UK will incorporate some form of active fire protection system. An active fire protection system may include a fire alarm, fire alarm panel, sprinkler system, emergency lighting etc.

Having been installed and appropriately commissioned, these systems are designed to operate to ensure both the building and its occupants are protected.  Unfortunately, as with all electrical and mechanical systems, failure is a possibility.  

To reduce the likelihood of failure, all fire protection systems must be subject to regular checks, testing and maintenance.  These actions ensure the system is working correctly and any items that are subject to failure - through 'wear and tear' etc. - can be identified and appropriate remedial action taken. Appropriate system checks will be a part of your ongoing fire risk assessment and fire safety log book actions.

The reason for reducing the likelihood of failure is the matter of consequences.  It is likely that most (if not all) of the fire safety systems installed in the UK have been installed as...

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Complete Fire Safety Management | How to manage fire safety

Posted: 02/09/2013 17:36

In your business or organisation, you may have taken fire precautions by having appropriate extinguishers, fire doors and fire exit notices etc, but this is not the same as managing fire safety. It is often said that buildings would be safe if we didn't let people into them and while it is said with humour, there are elements of truth. It is how fire safety is managed and the actions that are taken that determine successful fire safety management.

Fire Safety Responsibilities

If we are to properly manage fire safety, we must first understand our responsibilities.  The starting point for this must be the appointment of a 'Responsible Person' which is a requirement of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  In many organisations, full responsibility for the fire safety management duties cannot practically fall to one responsible person, so this person should delegate specific duties to appropriately trained and trusted staff.

Occupancy Management for Fire Evacuations

It may be necessary to control the occupancy in your business or organisation. This is the number of...

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Fire | The External Risk

Posted: 30/08/2013 11:36

The typical considerations of an effective fire risk assessment fall within your remit and property. However, there are often fire safety risks from outside the property and outside your direct control those should be considered too.

Adjacency

As part of the Fire Risk Assessments you undertake, you should consider your neighbours.  It may be that the nearest building is 50 metres away, and there is good separation. For the majority of properties, this is unlikely and where there are neighbouring properties, you need to consider the potential of fire spread from their building to yours, as well as vice versa.  This can seem a complex issue, but initially, a number of simple factors should be considered.

The materials used to construct the buildings are a key consideration.  Where both buildings are built from brick or other masonry and have no openings (windows and doors), the likelihood of fire spread between the two is low. However, in cases where the buildings are constructed of lightweight materials with unprotected openings, the likelihood of fire spread is increased....

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Fire Safety | The dangers of hazardous substances

Posted: 20/08/2013 13:17

Hazardous substances are all around us in the workplace and in the majority of domestic premises too. They are marked with the International symbols of hazard, and have been since 2009 when they replaced the European symbols for the UK market.

While accepting that they are a necessity for some situations and practices, their identification, handling and storage is of the utmost importance when considering fire safety.

Various steps to reduce the risk of hazardous substances must be taken by all building occupiers and responsible persons to mitigate the impact, in case of fire.

Step One - Risk Reduction

The first step to be taken is to consider risk reduction. Once you have identified the hazardous substance, consideration needs to be given to its necessity. Could another, less dangerous, chemical be used instead?

For example, a particularly hazardous substance (when involved in fire) is acetylene, which is commonly mixed with oxygen and used in welding.  In some situations, a viable alternative is propane, which, although it will produce a different temperature, may be suitable. Some...

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Fire Safety | Responsible person ongoing duties

Posted: 13/08/2013 13:18

After completion of the stages on our 'How it works' page of the Complete Fire Safety Management website, a responsible person might think that their management of fire safety and risk assessment is complete. The process is ongoing however, and involves 'housekeeping' duties.

While housekeeping most commonly refers to domestic chores, in the world of fire safety, it describes simple regular activities that must be undertaken to ensure the premises are fire safe.

Tools such as a fire safety log book help to ensure that all information is stored together and that planned maintenance, fire drills and processes can be recorded, is essential.

Common Failures

Where the management system fails, are the most common issues identified, as follows:

 Inadequate testing/maintenance of fire safety systems
 Excessive fire loading within given areas
 Means of escape routes blocked/locked/impeded
 Significant risk of fire caused by...

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