When you hear a fire alarm what do you do? Look for the nearest exit or carry on regardless? The Terrorist attacks of 9/11 did change our perceptions of safety although there is still a lot of complacency when a fire alarm goes off and we tend to think that the alarm is just a mistake.
Terrorism aside, many businesses never recover from the impact of a fire. It only takes one fire to kill a person, destroy a business or both.
There are three elements needed for a fire to start: Oxygen, an ignition source, which could be from anything from faulty wiring or cooking equipment to a cigarette end, and fuel. And if conditions are right, almost any material can fuel a fire.
A few years ago a care home fire killed 14 elderly residents. An inquiry highlighted that many of the care home staff hadn’t received any fire safety training and didn’t know what to do in the event of a fire. There were also problems with electrical work that had been carried out on the building.
People who die in their work place from fires often do so due to a lack of training and preventative measures. It is an employer’s responsibility to design and implement a plan to deal with a fire.
Employees are required to receive the relevant fire safety training for their work place. Employees must all be aware of fire and evacuation procedures and how to alert the fire brigade when a fire is suspected. They should know not only what to do if a fire occurs, but how to prevent a fire from starting. Staff must be trained in which extinguishers are used for which types of fire, and where the extinguishers are in your building. Regular refresher courses on fire safety and fire drills should also form part of the health and safety planning. At least one or two members of staff should be designated fire wardens to assume the responsibility of ensuring the safety of staff and be the person to liaise with emergency services when necessary. In addition to this it is important that fire equipment such as extinguishers, alarms and fire doors are kept in the correct places and are regularly checked and maintained.
Had the staff in the care home mentioned above had the correct training, monitoring and equipment, it may not have led to some many deaths.
You can protect your staff and your business by ensuring you have the correct training in place.
For details of Safe and Sound Fire Training call us on 0208 445 8998 or go to: