Fire Protection Systems Management
Is fire protection competency important in the management and ongoing maintenance of your fire safety systems?
In this article, the regions leading fire protection company, Century Fire & Security Ltd, look at the question of competency in respect of your fire alarm and fire protection systems.
The reason we wanted to raise the question of competency is because there is currently no consistent definition of what competency looks like outside of the industry for fire risk assessors, building managers, installers or maintainers of active or passive fire protection systems. We recognise the good work being undertaken by the Grenfell Inquiry, the Hackitt Review and other initiatives, however we believe much more needs to be done to create better confidence in the ability to manage fire systems with a level of competency.
For those that are trusted with the management of building fire systems there are typically 2 elements to Fire Protection management, these being strategy and delivery.
Fire Protection Strategy
Key elements of a fire protection strategy is the fire risk assessments along with the organisations commitment to business continuity plan.
Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment is your legal requirement Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. A full fire safety risk assessment is a legal responsibility for all non-domestic premises.
In managing fire protection, a Fire Risk Assessment is carried out by a “competent person” and includes 5 key elements, these include:
- To identify fire hazards
- To identify people at risk
- To evaluate, remove or reduce the identified risks
- To record your findings, create an emergency plan and provide suitable training
- To review and update the fire risk assessment regularly
Legislation does not dictate how often a fire risk assessment is carried out, only to say that it is regularly reviewed. We suggest a process whereby the fire risk assessment is continuously reviewed and alterations are agreed and recorded in a board meeting at least every 6 months, or when:
- There are alterations to the commercial property which may affect exit routes
- Storage changes to hazardous substances
- When an accident occurs
- When a fire-related incident occurs
- When fire safety equipment becomes damaged or has expired
- In the event of staff changes – this could include a large increase in personnel or the hiring of a person with disabilities
- When the purpose of visitors entering the building changes, ie new services for the young, vulnerable or disabled
- When there is a change in personnel charged with managing the fire risk assessment such as the competent person
The Business Continuity Plan
The Business Continuity Plan is created in response to the fire risk assessment and other risk assessments and is designed to ensure that staff know their roles and responsibilities in the event of an unexpected incident. It is designed to agree processes and responses following a recognised practiced and agreed procedure.
The goal of a Business Continuity Plan is to ensure that the impact on your business is limited following a major incident or disruption.
Whilst there is no legal requirement to have a Business Continuity Plan in place, it is considered best practice to ensure one exists, is practiced and again reviewed and implemented by the board twice annually.
Fire Alarms & Early Warning Detection and Prevention
A Fire Alarm is a key asset in any organisations fire protection strategy. The fire alarm is created and amended in association with the fire risk assessment, the fire alarm is critical and is proven to save lives time after time.
The fire alarm system must be designed and installed in accordance with BS 5839.
Fire Alarm Maintenance, with the enforcement of the Fire Safety Order 2005, the competent person or the person responsible for the building has a legal obligation to ensure that regular servicing and maintenance of your fire alarm system is undertaken, in line with the fire risk assessment and changes to the business and new working practices (including a return to work). It will also give you assurance that your fire alarm equipment will work when it is needed most.
24/7 Fire System Monitoring – If there is a fire or a fault within the system the alarm needs to alert others and can be set to automatically alert an alarm response service who can then respond and alert services including fault alerts to the maintenance service team. A monitoring service can engage services at the right time and ensure the correct response, often before you know there is a problem.
Fire Safety Signage – As a business or commercial property owner, it is your responsibility in law ( Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) to ensure that, from any given point within the building, all occupants have a clear directional guidance on how to reach a place of safety in the event of an emergency.
Who are Century Fire & Security Ltd?
Century Fire & Security Ltd are one of the region’s leading fire and security installations, integrations and maintenance service companies.
We provide fire protection and security integration services that include installation, integration and maintenance to a wide range of UK businesses including, well known brands, public sector clients, several police forces, schools, universities and colleges. We are happy to work with every business type from airports to zoo’s. Our customers trust Century Fire & Security Ltd to install and manage all of their Fire & Security needs.
A unique systems integrator, we manage all of our installations, integrations, and maintenance in-house, we value our engineers experience and our customer service. We offer free onsite surveys which are carried out by our commercial team, who are extremely experienced, many of whom have worked as system engineers and understand the technology and options available to each customers individual requirements.
Contact Us at:
Century Secure Group
Hermitage Industrial Estate
Freephone: 0800 052 6070
Local Rate: 01530 262466
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