These are specialist professionals whose job is to try to make your building be it your workplace or home safer than it is at present. Fire safety consultants do this by conducting a fire risk assessment on your site inspection of your premises and then writing a report on building safety and giving advice and recommendations. They should be able to clearly explain to you the potential areas in your building where a workplace fire could start. How your employees would probably react and more importantly how best to prevent this from happening and what safety procedures to take if it does happen.
There are many benefits to hiring a fire consultant for instance they can advise on a employers legal obligations to their staff, as well as reassuring their employees that their work environment is safe. On top of this of course they can maximize fire prevention measures, if for instance you run a business then any fire at your offices can severely disrupt and even cripple your business. So as you can see the benefits of employing the services of a fire consultancy greatly outweigh the costs, whether you are based in a office block or a construction site. Untrained people will always have trouble in trying to use fire equipment, so make sure you know how the equipment operates.
Virtually all current safety legislation refers to commercial premises and not to private households. However there are many regulations and codes of practise that landlords must adhere to in relation to rented accommodation, these are there to protect tenants. Landlords should ensure they have an annual gas certificate drawn up. Tenants should have their gas and electric cookers serviced regularly, and keep their kitchen well ventilated.
Basic safety procedures you should follow are like keeping your premises tidy and well organised. Keep any items that can assist the spread of any fire, like newspapers and chemicals away from cookers and electrical items like toasters etc. Make sure that if any of your colleagues smoke then they do so outside in designated smoking areas. Have basic fire fighting equipment like fire extinguishers, ladders and fire blankets in place, and ensure that key staff are aware of them and also know how to use them.
Whenever you are looking to hire the services of a fire consultant you should always look at their credentials like their fire training and qualifications and also any testimonials they may have. Also make sure that they are registered with professional trade bodies like The Institution of Fire Engineers. You should note that fire certificates are no longer required by law, and have been ‘replaced’ by the safety regulations of the Fire Safety Order 2005.
Fire consultants give advice on safety requirements to reduce the chances of any fire starting. Listed below are some topics that advice should be offered on:
Means of escape
Decide on a appropriate fire exit that is convenient for all of your staff, then draw up professional looking maps and then bring this to the attention of all of the staff. Carry out a trial fire drill to assess how your colleagues will react in any emergency, then review it to see what can be improved. Also have a designated assembly area outside of the building.
If a emergency occurs in the middle of the night then you may have to try to leave your building in the dark, this type of escape can be very difficult. This is a lighting systems that in the event of a fire will come on, particularly in enclosed spaces. They can be battery operated so they will not be affected in the electricity is cut. They can greatly help people evacuate any building quickly showing fluorescent lighting arrows pointing to the exits, and therefore save people from serious injury or even death through smoke inhalation. They tend to use halogen bulbs. Emergency lighting tends to be easy to install and maintain and are weather proof can work in the rain or snow.
Fire Safety Order 2005
This order typically relates to those who own a business, and sets out certain points they must comply with. Its main objective is to reduce the chance of a fire starting in a building. It does this by requiring the owners of the premises to carry out a fire risk assessment, and to then produce a report on any hazards or recommendations.
These are fire suppression systems that sprays out high velocity water through valves when it is triggered, and a fire safety consultant can advise you on the best locations to install it. The trigger can be a number of things like smoke alarms or heat from burning material which will cause the temperature to rise. A water sprinkler system can be found in all types of buildings both industrial and commercial offices, and are a effective way of reducing the speed at which a fire can spread. Sprinklers should be tested and maintained regularly to ensure they are working correctly.
Other related topics of interest: