Facilities Management companies can cover a whole range of different functions across multiple industries. These can range from retail premises, office blocks, schools and universities, leisure centres and other public places. No matter which sector a facilities manager may be working in, health and safety, including fire safety, should top of the agenda at all times.
In line with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, facilities managers would normally be designated as the ‘responsible person’ whose role includes carrying out a fire risk assessment at the location which he or she manages. To help facilities managers comply with these regulations, we’ve come up with a key list of risks which they will need to consider when carrying out a fire risk assessment and which equipment they will need to keep the property and those either working, visiting or living there completely safe.
It can be very difficult to come up with a comprehensive list of the risks a facilities manager may need to consider as this role can cover so many different industry sectors. For example, the fire hazards in a public place like a leisure centre or theatre are very different from those in an office block.
The best advice we can give is to look at the three key elements that can cause a fire, known at the fire triangle. These are a source of ignition, a source of fuel and a source of oxygen, as it’s the combination of these three elements that will cause a fire in most circumstances.
If the premises you are managing includes a kitchen area of any kind, whether commercial or residential, you need to be aware that this is an area which needs particular care and attention. Accidental fires can be very easily caused from open flames, cooking fats, a build-up of rubbish and blockages in ventilation systems. By the same token, poorly maintained electrical equipment in venues like a large office block or a leisure centre can pose a threat when it comes to fire safety.
It’s also important to take into account awareness of employees, visitors or the general public in terms of their behaviours. Measure to put in place can include appropriate fire safety signage showing emergency exits and designated smoking areas.
In a venue with an active, commercial kitchen, a facilities manager should ensure that ventilation systems are cleaned regularly to keep them free of dust and grease, as the build up of these particles are a potential source of fuel for a fire. You should also have in place appropriate fire safety equipment including a fire blanket (which can smother a cooking fire) and Class F fire extinguishers which are designed for use on fires caused by cooking oils and fats.
In premises which run a lot of electrical equipment like large commercial buildings, theatres, leisure centres and even residential complexes, in addition to the regular testing and checking of equipment is vital – and that should include PAT testing of equipment by an accredited electrician as well as visual checking to avoid hazards such as socket overloads.
Again, you will also need the most appropriate fire extinguishers that are suitable for putting out fires caused by electrical equipment. The two most appropriate types of extinguishers are a Dry Powder and Co2 Extinguishers, both of which are available from Hartson Fire.
If you are a facilities manager with responsibility for fire safety, it’s very important that you understand the dangers and hazards in your particular building or buildings in order to minimise the risk of a fire.
If you’re unsure about which equipment you need for a particular environment then it’s best to get advice from a professional, like one of the experienced engineers at Hartson Fire.
To find out more visit www.hartsonfire.co.uk or call us on the number below to book a site survey: