Three Cs key to improving fire safety awareness says ASFP President
The Association for Specialist Fire Protection’s President Brian Robinson has called on the fire sector and the wider built environment to work together to address “fractures” in the building design, construction and maintenance process, through showing Commitment to improving Communication and Competency.
Speaking at the Association’s Annual President’s lunch on 13 December, Mr Robinson highlighted significant disconnects in the construction process from the initial design of a building through to its construction and occupation.
Making reference to the ASFP Parliamentary seminar, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Fire and Rescue Group at the House of Lords earlier in the month, Mr Robinson said that the sector faced a number of significant challenges. Fire Minister Brandon Lewis MP attended this important event which sought to debate a range of fundamental issues, such as ensuring an appropriate approach to fire engineering, the impact of modern methods of construction and ways to measure competency.
Mr Robinson praised the Fire Sector Federation bringing together stakeholders from across the built environment with a specific involvement in fire, to develop initiatives and create awareness. Noting that the ASFP is a founding member of the Federation, he outlined the ASFP’s commitment to improving fire safety awareness and competency, detailing a number of initiatives that the Association has undertaken.
“It is essential that we now build on our sector’s commitment to engage, and bring on board those who have yet to fully embrace our aims and objectives,” he declared.
“We as a sector are starting to get our collective acts together, therefore our mission now is to engage with those who determine design, those who take responsibility for the build process and those who go on to maintain the building for its natural life.”
Mr Robinson highlighted the essential need for appropriate competency in product manufacture and installation in any fire scenario, outlining the role of third party certification in assuring the suitability of products and competency of installers.
“We know that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order is now having an effect on how the Responsible Person recognises his responsibilities in relation to fire. However the issue for debate is whether he understands who is competent and ‘fit for purpose’ when it comes to the correct specification, installation and maintenance of the fire safety measures within his building,” he said.
Introducing the case for a national fire safe register, Mr Robinson acknowledged that such a scheme may not be universally appreciated, but said it was an important debate to progress.
“Could the introduction of a national fire safe register, recognised and supported by all the fire sector’s certification bodies, reinforce the process of third party certification and offer those responsible for design, construction and ownership within the built environment a clearer pathway to pursue?” he asked.
Mr Robinson highlighted the ASFP’s increasing commitment to improving fire safety awareness explaining that it is now reaching out to building owners and occupiers through a series of regional seminars in Passive Fire Protection. These events started in Manchester in September 2013 and will continue throughout 2014 at a number of locations across the UK and Ireland.
The ASFP is also committed to raising the competency of all those responsible for the specification, installation, maintenance and inspection of passive fire protection. Working with CITB and in conjunction with the Fire Protection Association, the ASFP has completed the piloting phase of its new national passive fire protection awareness training course, which it aims to roll out during 2014.
For information on these initiatives and to access the ASFP’s extensive range of free to view guidance documents and videos, visit the ASFP website, www.asfp.org.uk.