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Professional Fire Risk Assessment is Key to Minimising Fire Hazards

Although government officials wish it were otherwise, not everyone in the U.K. takes fire safety seriously.
Although government officials wish it were otherwise, not everyone in the U.K. takes fire safety seriously. This was one of many findings of a study during Fire Door Safety Week last September. The study also discovered that 45 percent of all Brits do not even know how to find a fire door at the workplace, according to the Fire Industry Association. In response to these findings, John Fletcher of the British Woodworking Federation implores everyone to take this research seriously:

“We are calling on everyone to look again at the buildings you live, stay and work in, and to report dodgy fire doors to the landlord, building manager or owner.

“The same principle applies to all commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises, including offices, restaurants, shops, hotels, care homes, public buildings, high rise flats and privately rented apartments. All of these buildings should have properly installed and maintained fire doors to help save lives and property.”

Such an appeal shouldn’t fall on deaf ears. Various Fire and Rescue Authorities in the country have responded to about 192,600 fires from 2012 to 2013, a figure that would certainly have been higher were it not for the heavy rains at the time. Even more troubling is the fact that more than a third of fires in the U.K. occurred in dwellings where no smoke or fire alarms were installed. Such a lapse in fire safety measures is something a company like Help and Safety at Work Ltd wishes to avert and eliminate, specifically by means of a thorough fire risk assessment of commercial and residential properties.

At any rate, fire safety should be everyone’s responsibility. The Fire Safety Order states that everyone who owns or occupies a non-domestic property should, among other things, conduct their own inspections for potential fire hazards, inform their colleagues of any such hazards identified within the premises, and participate in emergency planning. For common or shared areas, however, the responsibility falls entirely upon landlords.

While the Fire Safety Order encourages everyone to seize the initiative, this doesn’t mean they no longer have to work with authorised fire safety services. After all, even the simple task of identifying potential fire hazards is a lot harder than it sounds, as seemingly everything can be considered as such. The London Fire Brigade, for instance, advises citizens to be wary of naked flames (i.e. cigarettes and matches), hot surfaces (i.e. engines and halogen lamps), hot works (i.e. welding), friction (i.e. drive belts), and sparks (i.e. static electricity) as potential sources of ignition.

With better information regarding these fire hazards, as well as professional risk assessments, it is hoped that fewer conflagrations will have occurred come the next Fire Door Safety Week.

(Source: Research reveals alarming levels of ignorance & complacency about fire safety, Fire Industry Association, September 17, 2014)

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