Technical Fire Safety
Providing Safety Advice for Businesses
October 2006 finally saw the introduction of new primary fire safety legislation, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), governing standards of fire safety in all non- domestic premises within the community.
Under previous fire safety legislation, fire safety inspecting officers identified and detailed fire safety requirements to businesses to ensure the safety, from fire, of persons on their premises, often by way of a Fire Certificate. The FSO transfers this responsibility via the requirement to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, to the premises owner/occupier/employer. The role of the Authority is to provide advice, guidance and to enforce the FSO.
In addition to enforcing the primary fire safety legislation, the Authority are also called upon to advise other regulatory bodies responsible for legislation containing fire safety requirements, often as part of an approval, consultation or licensing process.
The primary role of Technical Fire Safety is to:
- Advise on policy development of the Authority's legislative fire safety activities
- Co-ordinate the Authority's enforcement activities to effectively service our legislative responsibilities for fire safety enforcement
- Manage and maintain a risk based inspection programme of all non-domestic premises within the counties
- Provide (free) fire safety advice to businesses and the public
- Provide technical support for operational personnel who also undertake fire safety activities
- Consult with the Local Authority Building Regulations departments within the county, together with Approved Inspectors, for planning and building applications
- Liaise and support other agencies involved in the provision of fire safety in non-domestic premises (Crown Property Inspectorate, HSE, Licensing Authorities, Commission for Social Care Inspection etc)
Technical Fire Safety also has a role in the reduction of false alarm calls
from non domestic premises.
- Malicious or hoax calls where the caller knows that there is no fire
- Good intent calls where the caller is mistaken in their belief that a fire has occurred (such as the smell of smoke from a bonfire)
- Unwanted fire signals from alarm apparatus where the alarm operates due to either mechanical/electrical defect or false activation by non fire stimuli such as cigarette smoke
False alarms are an ongoing problem for all emergency services. They are not simply a nuisance, but a very substantial drain on resources which detract from more productive work such as training and fire prevention. They also impact on the availability of crews for real emergency calls.
The Government has made it clear within the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 and the National Framework document that Fire and Rescue Services are required to prioritise their activities to focus significantly more on fire prevention and to take positive action to address the problem of false alarms. Technical Fire Safety will ensure that these requirements are met, by ensuring that the fire precautions in non-domestic premises within the county are suitable and well maintained and that subsequently, both fires and false alarms in non-domestic premises are kept to a minimum.
General Fire Safety Advice
For information on fire safety for businesses in the two counties contact the Fire Safety department at Service Headquarters in Worcester. Tel: 0800 032 1155
Preparing for emergencies link http://www.westmerciaprepared.org/