Fire Industry Association Warns of Reductions in Fire Cover for Businesses
The Fire Industry Association (FIA) is urging businesses in Berkshire to review their fire risk assessments and seek advice to ensure their emergency procedures reflect changes in response by their local Fire Service which could result in no attendance to Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) signals.
Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service (RBFRS) has published an AFA policy and Frequently Asked Questions guide on the front page of their website, www.rbfrs.co.uk, which explains the new attendance policy based on receiving automatic signals from fire detection and alarm systems.
RBFRS will not respond to Automatic Fire Alarms operating in commercial premises between 09.00 and 21.00hrs (excluding identified sleeping or special risks premises) and will reduce the attendance to domestic AFA’s to one appliance between 09.00 and 18.00hrs.
The FIA warns that many businesses rely on the principle that when their building is empty, e.g. evenings and weekends, that their detection system will send a signal to call the fire service to attend. All fire risk assessments based on a response from the fire service need to be reviewed.
The FIA recommends contacting your Fire Detection & Alarm maintenance company to review your system and reminds businesses that they are responsible for all fire safety issues within their premises.
RBFRS’s decision to reduce fire cover follows hard on the heels of an FIA Survey that has revealed that almost a fifth of UK companies have cut back on fire safety because of the current economic climate. The same survey reported that approximately 30% of employees say that they wouldn’t know what to do in the event of a fire in the workplace and, more worryingly, almost half of those surveyed don’t feel that they have been given adequate training or information on fire safety by their employers.
Graham Ellicott, CEO of the FIA, commented, ‘these reductionsin fire cover by fire brigades and in fire safety by businesses are very bad news for UK PLC where large loss fires are currently on the increase. Indeed, Fire & Rescue Services themselves often say that 80% of businesses that suffer a serious fire close with eighteen months’.
The FIA is available for further comment; please contact us on 020 3166 5002.
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