Monday, 18 April 2011
Friday, 15 April 2011
Most people would accept that fire prevention is ‘common sense'. However, here are some true statements made by residents complaining about fire risk assessments -
"We've been living here for years without an incident why should we bother?"
"Fire Risk Assessments - This is just jobs for the boys"
"Risk Assessments are money for old rope"
"We haven't got enough money - it'll have to wait"
Focus on residential blocks and fire safety increased with the introduction of the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 ("RRO") that became law in October 2006.
Like much legislation interpretation can be a nightmare. In simple terms the RRO means that those that have control of the premises ("the responsible person/s") have a legal duty to ensure that sufficient fire precautions are in place to protect relevant persons within the premises. In order to establish what fire precautions are required a fire risk assessment must be carried out. Within a residential block it is the communal areas that fall under the legislation not the residents flat.
In order to conform with the RRO, the fire risk assessment should be specific to the premises and ideally carried out by an independent and competent person. The risk assessment will provide you with details of any equipment or remedial works that you may need to ensure that there are sufficient fire precautions in place. To ignore the recommendations of an assessment is as bad as not having one carried out. Block Managers and RMC's should bear in mind that if an incident occurs and there has been no Fire Risk Assessment carried out or recommendations from an assessment have not been addressed then the consequences for the responsible person/s will be determined in a court of law.
Thursday, 14 April 2011
It follows Government guidelines introduced three years ago that recommended that automatic sprinkler systems should be fitted in most new and refurbished schools.
Sprinklers stop fire from spreading and "greatly reduce the chance of death or serious injury", the fire service said.
The figures have been released to coincide with the publication of new guidance from the brigade encouraging builders and developers to install sprinklers in schools, residential care homes, social housing and commercial premises. Called Think Sprinkler, the booklet is to be sent out to architects, building managers, care home owners and social landlords
Fire chiefs are consulted on the plans for newly built or refurbished schools in the capital and, according to the service’s figures, 49 out of 75 schools that have proposed building work in the last three years were not going to install sprinklers.
A spokesman for the service said: “Every year, one in eight schools suffers a serious arson attack. The cost of school fires is around £65 million with London accounting for over a third of the cost.
“As well as having a huge financial impact, these fires cause disruption to students, teachers and families and can have a devastating effect on the wider community.”
Arson figures have been taken from The impact of school fires, a study undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research commissioned by Local Government Analysis and Research.
Chairman of London fire and emergency planning authority’s community safety committee, Cllr Susan Hall, said:
“It’s time for building owners and developers to stop playing such a high risk game and gambling that there will never be a fire in their building. For too long architects and developers have ignored the overwhelming benefits of sprinklers in reducing the damage and potential loss of life a fire can cause."