Certified smoke service secures safe shoppers
Smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death in victims of indoor fires and causes irreparable damage to buildings even in areas that have not been directly affected by fire.
This is why smoke control and ventilation is just as important as control of the fire itself. When in place, smoke control systems have a number of objectives including; keeping fire access routes clear, preventing or delaying flashover and protecting the contents and structure of a building in areas that are yet to suffer direct fire damage.
Full spectrum maintenance
As with any electrical or mechanical system, smoke control equipment and components require regular maintenance to ensure optimum efficiency and successful operation with other fire safety features. This preventative maintenance of smoke control systems is especially necessary in structures where there are a high number of people at any given time. Buildings such as shopping centres, high-rise offices and schools require smoke control systems to ensure visibility during evacuation procedures and to increase the time any given individual has to leave an area in the event of a fire.
The design and installation of smoke control systems is complex and has a number of variables to consider. Components of each system, though able to work effectively alone, are often installed to the detriment of each other.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important considerations of smoke control is the individual or business responsible for installing and maintaining the safety systems and their ability to understand and implement the necessary components and procedures in the most effective manner.
Accreditation for safety
The FIRAS scheme aims to set a minimum industry standard for the installation and maintenance of smoke control systems. Under the scheme, certified companies have a nominated ‘competent person’ who is regularly reviewed by FIRAS to ensure their qualifications, technical and practical abilities remain in accordance with FIRAS regulations.
While the FIRAS scheme is currently voluntary, there are a number of legislations in place that require companies, by law, to maintain certain standards of safety.
The Regulatory Reform Fire Order (2005) – RRO – assigns responsibility to individuals within a company to fulfil risk assessments enabling them to identify, manage and reduce the risk of fire. The importance of this order should not be underestimated as disregard for the RRO has led to fines up to £240,000. Refusal to identify, manage and reduce risk of fire can lead to fires, injury and death as well as the prosecution of the individuals responsible.
With this in mind, it makes sense to appoint someone who has the relevant qualifications, certifications and dedication to understanding all areas the smoke control and fire safety industry – applying their knowledge to ensure all smoke and fire control systems are maintained to optimum efficiency and can function as a whole integrated system as well as disparate parts.
The ideal provider should offer a full maintenance service – effectively acting as the client’s ‘competent person’ and taking on responsibility for fire safety and providing peace of mind with their broad expertise across fire and smoke safety.
They shouldn’t have to be the original installer of the smoke control system a qualified service operative will have the expert knowledge to manage and maintain systems installed by anyone to ensure a safe solution and best value to the client.