fire news

Upcoming FIM Expo to feature BS 5839-1:2017 revisions and future of qualifications in fire detection and alarms

FIA seminars The next FIM Expo will take place on Wednesday 4 October at the Glasgow Science Centre. Organised by the Fire Industry Association (FIA), the annual free event features two fire-safety seminars and the latest life-safety products from leading fire detection and alarm manufacturers. One seminar will explore the implications of revisions to BS 5839-1:2017 ( Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises ).

The other looks at the future of qualifications in fire detection and alarms. Both seminars are CPD-accredited and free to attend. The event is relevant to installers or maintainers of fire detection and alarm systems, anyone managing such systems in commercial premises or architects or other professionals specifying fire protection systems to be installed in buildings. We are absolutely delighted to present FIM Expo, said Kat Schabowska, the event coordinator. It s a fantastic place for like-minded individuals to meet, exchange ideas, network, and learn more about new products from a wide range of manufacturers. New products are being released onto the market all the time and this is a great way to come and see them first-hand and discuss how these new products might work for you. View the full exhibitor list here or visit the events section on the FIA website to register.

Review of building regulations and fire safety an important step , says IOSH

Grenfell fallout Dame Judith Hackitt Dame Judith Hackitt s independent review of building regulations and fire safety is an important step towards stopping tragedies like Grenfell Tower, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has claimed. The UK government announced on Monday that former Health and Safety Executive chair, Dame Judith Hackitt was to lead the review with an interim report anticipated before the end of 2017 and a final report due in spring 2018. Hackitt, a chemical engineer who chaired the HSE between 2007 and 2016 is currently the chair of the Engineering Employers Federation.

The review will examine the regulatory system around the design, construction and on-going management of buildings in relation to fire safety. It will also assess compliance and enforcement issues alongside international regulation. The terms of reference of the review will be published imminently following those of the Grenfell Tower public inquiry. Communities secretary Sajid Javid said it was clear that building regulations and fire safety needed to be urgently reviewed. He said: This independent review will ensure we can swiftly make any necessary improvements. Government is determined to make sure that we learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire, and to ensure nothing like it can happen again. Dame Judith Hackitt said she was honoured to be asked to lead the review. She said: This review will look at what changes can be made for the future to make these more effective. I am keen to engage widely with industry and the public to inform the recommendations from the review.

I want the recommendations to lead to any necessary improvements in the system being made. Review welcomed Richard Jones, head of public affairs at IOSH, said: This is an important step towards ensuring that the adequacy, implementation and enforcement of relevant fire, health and safety and building regulations is reviewed and that international lessons are learned. These are all key areas that IOSH called for in our submission to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Team and we are pleased to see that Government action is being taken. IOSH notes that the Government expects an interim report from this review before the year end, with a final report by spring 2018. And importantly, that it has promised to act swiftly on any recommendations that it makes.

The original article was published on our sister site, SHP Online.

Fire assembly points: 5 things you should know

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety and that procedures for serious and imminent danger must enable the persons concerned to immediately proceed to a place of safety in the event of their being exposed to serious, imminent and unavoidable danger . So what do you need to remember about fire assembly points to keep your staff safe in the event of a fire? Here s our top five points to keep in mind: Assembly points outside of the building should be clearly indicated .

These points will be designated in consultation with your fire risk assessment, and the routes to them should be signposted with correct notices. Ensure all signage is unobstructed and easy to see, and that staff are aware on joining the company where their designated fire assembly point is. For larger sites, a well-formulated procedure should be in place to handle the evacuation of hundreds of people safely, ensuring they are moved through various exit points to a single assembly point. Where assembly points are sited is important . Consideration needs to be given to distance from the main building, and ease of accessibility by disabled people. Providing a sheltered, illuminated assembly point can be a good idea depending on the type of people who would be evacuated. For example, a care home may have vulnerable people who would benefit from shelter in the event of forced evacuation in poor weather. It is important that employees and other persons visiting the building are advised which assembly area they must use in the event of evacuation . For employees, this should form part of their induction to the company.

For visitors, it is good housekeeping to advise where the nearest exit points and assembly point is. Having a well-thought out fire safety evacuation policy is of upmost importance in ensuring the safety of your employees and site visitors. A comprehensive fire-risk assessment will look at your existing evacuation procedures, ensuring you comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. If you have an existing fire risk assessment, this should be reviewed every 12 months, and a new one should be completed every three years. For new sites, you should have a fire risk assessment completed within 3 weeks of opening. Not had a fire-risk assessment completed recently? Simply contact us for a quick quote .

Fire-door safety campaigners renew calls for public register of responsible persons

Fire news The organisations behind Fire Door Safety Week have again called for a publicly available national register of responsible persons for fire safety in rented accommodation. The British Woodworking Federation (BWF), BWF-Certifire and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme also called for such a register, which would require individuals with legal responsibility for a building s fire safety to be registered on a national database, in October 2016. Their name and contact details would be prominently displayed in the building so tenants had a point of contact for reporting any concerns or problems.

The organisations also want the responsible person to sign a formal acknowledgement of duty of care and meet a mandatory minimum level of competence. The notion of a responsible person was introduced by the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (2005). Defined as the person with ultimate responsibility for fire safety in a specific building, the responsible person, the act stated, should be the the employer, occupier or owner of the building. The responsible person must: Ensure that a fire safety risk assessment is carried out and reviewed regularly Identify and record fire hazards Identify and record people at risk Evaluate, remove or mitigate fire safety risks Prepare an emergency plan and provide training Regularly review and update the fire risk assessment Mystery identity However, the organisers of Fire Door Safety Week believe that the effectiveness of the responsible person framework is compromised by the fact that their identity is often not clear to the building occupants. When we start digging, the identity of the responsible person is often a mystery, says Hannah Mansell, spokesperson for Fire Door Safety Week. It can become very complex trying to identify who it is, especially in organisations that own or manage vast housing stock. Although the Fire Safety Order took effect over 10 years ago, our research shows that tenants don t know who to report fire safety concerns to. Even worse, when we surveyed those who are responsible for fire safety, half of them didn t even know or were unclear about their role. Mansell, who is also BWF technical manager, chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum and a trustee of the Children s Burns Trust, continues: Under the Fire Safety Order, Responsible Persons have to ensure that a regular fire risk assessment (FRA) is carried out by a competent person and is documented.

By identifying the responsible person and providing their contact details, occupants become empowered to report any concerns they have about the fire doors in their buildings. Hannah Mansell, technical manager, BWF The FRA should examine all aspects of fire safety management, including active and passive fire protection measures, signage, means of escape and the specific fire plan procedures. Their responsibilities also include acting on improvement advice and creating the emergency fire plan for the building, the key to this is arming the occupants with the knowledge of what to do in an emergency. Where in-depth and expert knowledge is lacking, the responsible person has a duty to engage someone with the relevant expertise to be able to implement or advise on key areas. There needs to be crystal clarity about the Responsible Person and a total transformation of attitude towards fire safety of tenants in rented accommodation. By identifying the responsible person and providing their contact details, occupants become empowered to report any concerns they have about the fire doors in their buildings. This would also ensure that those responsible for keeping tenants safe from fire know their duty and are made aware of issues directly. The call for a register of responsible persons was first made following the inquest into the death of Sophie Rosser, 23, who died in 2012 following a fire in her block of flats in London. At her inquest, the coroner was unable to pin the blame on any specific person or organisation.

Research commissioned by Fire Door Safety Week last year suggested that the poorest in society are by far at the greatest risk of fire. The recent fire at Grenfell Tower has certainly vindicated this. Fire Door Safety Week will run from 25 September to 1 October. Now in its fifth year, it aims to raise awareness about the role of third-party certificated fire doors in preventing life changing injuries and the legal responsibilities of managing fire door safety. It will focus on promoting awareness of the critical role of fire doors in high rise buildings, houses of multiple occupancy and other types of shared accommodation. The campaign will be giving advice, hosting events and sharing useful resources. It will also be signposting tenants as to where they should be reporting their fire safety concerns.

The campaign has received backing from fire and rescue services, housing associations, charities, BWF members, fire safety professionals and a wide range of other organisations.

Advanced launches peripheral expansion network node for more flexible, configurable networking

Fire systems Advanced claims its latest new product makes networking more flexible and configurable than ever. The PENN (peripheral expansion network node) is a card and network node that accommodates Advanced s range of peripheral input and output cards anywhere on the network, and up to 1.5km from the nearest fire panel or next PENN node. Covering everything from input, interface and i/o cards to relay, sounder, LED and switch cards, up to 32 peripheral cards can be attached to a PENN and 199 PENNs can be added to a network.

More than 6,000 peripheral cards can therefore be added almost anywhere around the network. Until now, peripheral cards could only be connected to a fire panel s P-BUS although Advanced stresses that this remains an option and no more distant than 10 metres from the panel. Advanced s ease-of-use and the power and resilience of its networking are already well understood and admired, says Aston Bowles, head of marketing at Advanced. The PENN provides our customers with more freedom, even simpler installation, and configuration that improves performance and reduces installation costs. Freeing the peripheral cards from the panel is a good idea, but the creative ways our customers are using the PENN and peripheral cards to solve installation and configuration challenges is genuinely surprising, and we re seeing it used on all manner and sizes of projects.

The PENN is currently compatible with Advanced s MxPro multiprotocol panels and Axis EN fire systems.

How to develop a fire-risk management strategy

Where fire is concerned, honesty is the best policy, strategy and procedure. That was the message in an article I authored last year which focused on the importance of fire policy. What amounts to fire policy, fire risk management strategy and procedure is not thoroughly understood and many people responsible for fire safety within organisations or individual buildings struggle to get it right.

Following the release of BS 9999: 2017, which contains a revised section 4 entitled Designing for the management of fire risk , I thought it might be worthwhile sharing some thoughts on how to craft fire risk management strategy. In this article I ll answer the following questions: What is a fire risk management strategy? Why it is useful to have one? Who might be tasked with developing one? When might one be required? How should it be structured? What is a fire risk management strategy? As the title would suggest a fire risk management strategy is focused towards the management of fire risk. There are some subtle differences between a fire strategy and a fire risk management strategy.

A fire strategy report describes the fire safety issues and how they are addressed. It acts as a guide for the design team, by identifying standards or setting performance criteria eg for the capacity of a smoke extract system and/or the fire resistance of elements of structure. It is the basis of the submission to the approving authorities ie building control body and fire authority. A concept fire strategy report will evolve through the design process being refined and expanded as the project progresses with a view to becoming an as-built fire strategy for use throughout the building s life cycle. The term fire-risk management strategy was defined in PAS 7: 2013 as a document which defines an organisations fire risk management system and method of implementing the overarching policy . A fire risk management strategy can be developed for an organisation responsible for a single building or an organisation with responsibility for a multi-site portfolio. Why it is useful to have one? When designing fire risk management into buildings there is great benefit in providing building occupiers and/or their person designated with fire safety responsibilities ie fire, health and safety managers with the opportunity to become involved with the design and construction process thus ensuring improved operational performance and better working environments. There are also ongoing business benefits.

The maintenance and operational costs of a building during its lifecycle far outweigh the original capital cost of construction, and these could potentially be explored and relayed by the fire engineer. Benefits of incorporating fire risk management into the building s fire strategy The key benefits can be identified as: Involvement at an early stage of building, managers and end users or their fire safety/health and safety managers allowing for early challenges of the practical implications of design concepts in terms of how they may impact upon on-going day to day practicalities, maintenance and operational costs pertaining to the fire strategy. Ensuring that full training, commissioning and handover is provided at an early stage, which reduces the cost of a protracted handover and means the building will reach optimal performance sooner. Allowing for post occupancy evaluation, which monitors the project outcomes post completion against performance and cost criteria, and ensures lessons are learned for future projects. When might one be required? A fire risk management strategy may be developed by someone designing new buildings or it may be developed as part of organisations fire risk management system documentation. At the design stage, a fire strategy report will usually contain some commentary on management, for example; where it has been necessary to make assumptions regarding the management of the building in the development of the fire strategy these should be stated in the fire strategy report. The fire strategy report may incorporate more comprehensive commentary on fire risk management, for example; if variations from the national guidance are proposed and justified with the use of fire engineering analysis or simply as the fire strategy report evolves through the design process into an as built fire strategy and more information on the use and management of the building comes to light. A fire risk management strategy for a single building may remain incorporated within the fire strategy report or become a separate document.

If a fire risk management strategy is drafted for an organisation operating a portfolio of buildings it is preferable for it to be a separate document. A fire-risk management strategy can also be developed post occupation. The standard Scope of Works for the Fire Engineer produced by the Fire Industry Association and Fire Engineering Council sets out the following services at RIBA Stage 7 Use and aftercare (previously RIBA stage L). These services are to produce, or assist in the production, of organisational fire risk management policy, strategy and procedure. Moreover, organisations seeking to achieve a high level of assurance and management system level 1, as defined in BS 9999: 2017 can demonstrate this by conformity to PAS 7. In order to demonstrate attainment of a level 1 management system some organisations may decide to have their management system certificated. Who might have cause to develop or review one? There may be a number of professionals with interest in the development of a fire risk management strategy. The interested parties could range from fire safety professionals i.e.

designers, fire engineers and fire safety managers, or owners, tenants, occupants, facility managers, health and safety managers and security staff. There may be a number of professionals with an interest in reviewing a fire risk management strategy and these could include: regulators and enforcers, including building control bodies, fire authorities, health and safety inspectors, environmental health officers, and environmental agencies. There may also be third party certification bodies with an interest in certificating a fire risk management system may wish to assess any claim of conformity against PAS 7. A claim of conformity can be made on the basis of: a) a first ‘party conformity assessment performed by the organization itself (self ‘assessment); b) a second ‘party conformity assessment performed by, for example; a trade association; or c) a third ‘party conformity assessment performed by an organization, such as a certification body, that is independent of both the organization responsible for the fire risk management system and, for example; a trade association. Guidelines for auditing management systems are given in BS EN ISO 19011. Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems are given in BS EN ISO/IEC 17021-1. How should it be structured? PAS 7 imposes a requirement that the organisation shall define and document its fire risk management strategy in order to implement and maintain procedures that identify the aspects of its activities, products and services relevant to the scope. By considering the context of the organisation it is possible to evaluate the risks to the organizsation by determining and recording those aspects that can have a significant impact on life safety, property protection, business continuity and the environment, as dictated by the organisation s policy.

The fire risk management strategy shall address the following seven factors of strategic fire risk management: Fire risk assessment Resources and authority Fire safety training Control of work on site Maintenance and testing Communication Emergency planning Michael Porter once said: Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it s about deliberately choosing to be different . In many ways this is true of a fire risk management strategy. A strategic fire risk management approach can be defined as an integrated or holistic approach to understanding and managing risks posed by the threat of fire that enables an organisation to optimise its underlying processes and achieve more efficient results. In our experience, no two organisations have the same strategy even if they are in the same sector. The benefits of establishing effective fire risk management strategy are clearly demonstrable, being able to align the nuances of fire risk management into the broader auspices of safety/quality management. This is particularly useful for organisations standardising approaches within other disciplines such as: health and safety, environmental protection, business continuity, security and quality systems. BB7 is offering a free gap analysis against the requirements of PAS 7: 2013 Fire Risk Management System Specification.

They are particularly interested in hearing from organisations with complex fire risk management challenges.

Grenfell video: Scotland s decisive response to its own tower-block tragedy put England to shame

Stephen Mackenzie Q&A There are so many dimensions to the Grenfell fire that it s hard to know where to start. In the video below, fire-risk consultant Stephen Mackenzie examines everything from the privatisation of fire-safety research to the inadequate logistical response on the ground in the immediate aftermath and the glacial pace of regulatory change in England versus Scotland. Below you can also read the transcript of the interview, which was conducted at fire safety exhibition FIREX 2017.

embedded content I m aware that the building regulations are under constant review, but there s a dichotomy in the turnaround time: four years for the Lakanal report, one year for the Scottish Garnock report. Stephen Mackenzie on the privatisation of fire research provision We ve increasingly seen over the past decades, our fire research provision within the UK, which is internationally renowned, becoming increasingly privatised. Whether it s a research establishment which is now a charitable trust, whether it s a fire service college which is now under the major government support contracts, or the emergency planning college which is under another support service provider On funding challenges for academic fire research The other thing we ve seen is it s increasingly more challenging for fire research academic teams to give that true independence in UK regions to secure funding for more fashionable, thematic areas. We have very small programmes with research, very important given life safety issues, and property protection issues, but we re in competition with larger, more profitable business degrees, MBAs and suchlike. On the skills shortage in fire engineering We ve also seen an erosion of succession routes for younger engineers in a challenging environment to become industry captains. Where we re seeing a throughput, so young professional awards, we didn t have recipients. So we need to look at that through funding of the fire cadet programme nationally, fire service trainees, encourage others to support those endeavours, and also look to how we fund our research. Ten or 11 years ago the Department of Community at local government was trying to get a national fire research academy off the ground. Unfortunately the commentary that came back on a very comprehensive research proposal, sponsored and supported by the whole sector, was you ve already got many organisations, therefore we can t fund it.

but it needs that focal point, that independence, and we need that international recognition and response. On the government s immediate response and failure to convene COBRA I think we ve seen a comparison between the Grenfell fire and Finsbury Park terrorist attack. Immediately following the Finsbury Park attack, Theresa May convened COBRA. That should have been the case on Thursday the day after the fire, or the latter hours of Wednesday. Convene COBRA, get emergency personnel leads in, coordinate with local authority responders, and have a better response and management of media, and to the families and residents concerns. Not only for Grenfell Tower blocks, but for all tower blocks in the UK. I feel it could have been sharper, more effective, and then the central government may not have received some of the criticism it has. I fully recognise the multi-agency response by the emergency services was fantastic. Those individuals in all three emergency services put themselves at significant risk, with debris falling down from the building on top of them.

Significant injuries occurring with the fire personnel, they still went into that building. When their dynamic risk assessments have said this is too risky for even emergency services personnel, possibly. The other thing we need to see is the softer services where we move from coordinated triad of emergency services. We have London-based annual emergency services exercises. We had one last year, a unified exercise, it went very well. We re very experienced. But then we seem to see some local stress and shocks with the local authority response. But now see that they have now caught up to speed. So I think moving from the emergency services response into the softer response by local authorities and the government, and there are a number of professional bodies in the UK that can facilitate and exist with that.

So it might be another line of enquiry for the coroner report, and also the public inquiry. On the Lakanal House report There s actually about 30 case studies, both in the UK and internationally, that we can refer to. Some of the more contemporary ones and two of the more important ones I ll draw attention to: the Lakanal report in 2013 following the Lakanal Camberwell fire where ladies and children expired. There were a number of recommendations made in that coroner court enquiry, predominantly looking at emergency service response and also looking at the complexities in interpretation of our building legislation, and the need for reducing, streamlining it, and making it more practical in application. That s a longstanding issue. I believe some of the professional bodies in the fire service community are doing research, campaigning, and petitioning government on that. I ll let them report on their own positions. On the Garnock Court enquiry The other more significant one that I have been talking about in the international press is quite a well-known report done by one of the legal councillors in the UK. It makes reference, and I m making referencing to the source, a public enquiry report, for the Garnock Court fire in Scotland in 1999.

The public inquiry was published in 2000, to the House of Commons. So we ve heard with Grenfell, Theresa May saying we ll go to a full public inquiry, we ll have parallel coroner court inquiries, and parallel criminal, and possibly civil actions as well. But in 2000, there was a report, and I ll quote, while this inquiry did not suggest the majority of external cladding systems in the UK currently in use pose a serious threat to life safety or property in event of fire, they did go on to add, we do not believe it should take a serious fire in which many people are killed before all reasonable steps are taken towards minimising the fire risk. They then go on to make commentary about the inclusion of standards through the British Standards Institute, revision of the Approved Document B, and the title of that report under the reference was The Potential Risk of Fire Spread in Buildings via External Cladding Systems. We have known about this problem and issue in the fire sector, the House of Commons are aware of it. the Prime Minister s office is now aware of it, I imagine, through the national press and their own technical advisors. On the glacial pace of regulatory change in England versus Scotland Let s look at legislation. We did it in Scotland. When we reviewed our fire safety legislation we also brought in new building regulations, we brought in new technical handbooks.

And I believe, if memory services me correct, the most recent release was either in June 2016 or June 2017. I am aware that the building regulations are under constant review. But there seems to be a dichotomy in the turnaround time: four years for the Lakanal report, one year for the Scottish Garnock report. Fire legislation report in Scotland was reviewed in 2005, and continued on the new basis, performance basis, whereas we appear to be limping on with a very outdated and outmoded document. Our colleagues at yesterday s expert panel FIREX International 2017 held a debate on the Grenfell fire were quite vocal about that position.

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Watch: Stephen Mackenzie on the Grenfell fire and counter terror on FIREX TV

FIREX & IFSEC 2017 Watch Stephen Mackenzie, director of Mackenzie Risk Management, speak to FIREX TV during FIREX 2017, which took place at London ExCeL. Watch more videos from IFSEC and FIREX 2017 here . embedded content Visit FIREX International for cutting-edge solutions, essential knowledge and the ability to grow your business by getting direct access to the whole fire safety industry.

It is the perfect place to get your product in front of thousands of buyers, across a multitude of featured areas.

From the brand new Drone Zone, the ARC Village, ASFP Passive Protection Zone, the Engineers of Tomorrow competition and more, it s all under one roof so you ll never miss a beat.

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Watch: Reacton Fire Suppression on FIREX TV

FIREX 2017 Watch Ed Barnes, director at Reacton Fire Suppression, interviewed on FIREX TV during FIREX 2017. Reacton Fire Suppression is a specialist manufacturer of high performance automatic fire detection and suppression systems. embedded content Visit FIREX International for cutting-edge solutions, essential knowledge and the ability to grow your business by getting direct access to the whole fire safety industry.

It is the perfect place to get your product in front of thousands of buyers, across a multitude of featured areas.

From the brand new Drone Zone, the ARC Village, ASFP Passive Protection Zone, the Engineers of Tomorrow competition and more, it s all under one roof so you ll never miss a beat.

Click here to register your place now to join us at London Excel on 20 22 June