The importance of holistic fire safety management.
Compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is not just about being able to produce a fire risk assessment for the premises under your control. It also requires the ability to demonstrate that the fire safety of your premises is managed in a total and holistic manner. James Lavender of BRE's Fire Safety team explains.
There is no question that a comprehensive fire risk assessment (FRA), which is suitable and sufficient for the premises, is required by legislation and provides a strategically important cog in the wheel of overall fire safety management. But the FRA alone cannot ensure the safety of all building users.
Total fire safety requires a full understanding of the impacts and implications that issues such as maintaining fire safety provision, training staff, and communicating and collaborating with other building users all have on the building and its users.
An appreciation of these issues individually will develop and increase your awareness of a building’s fire safely and of users risks. But complete fire safety awareness will only be achieved through understanding how these fire safety factors interact with one another and impact the building and users as a whole.
This is where holistic fire safety management can play a critical role by tying together all of the various aspects of fire safety. This approach will ensure that you comply with the legislative (life safety) requirements. In addition it may also afford you the benefits of understating how resilient, or not, your building is to fire in respect of property protection, business continuity and potential environmental impacts.
Fire prevention becomes second nature
Informed and robust fire safety management regimes establish the policies and philosophies underpinning and upholding fire safety in a building and organisation. Also, by applying robust fire safety management through visibly felt fire safety leadership, fire prevention can become second nature to building users – and the risks therefore reduced.
For example, simple considerations such as informing building users of temporary fire safety arrangements whilst improvement works are being undertaken, can reduce the impact on occupants should a fire occur in the building at a time of greater risk.
A holistic approach to fire safety in your building or organisation can also help you to reduce potential exposure to litigation for failing to comply with legislative requirements.
BRE fire safety consultants can provide support in establishing holistic and robust fire safety management systems. Along with helping you to carry out effective fire risk assessments, this can also identify where your current regime may be open to potential litigation as a result of inadequacies in your existing structure.
Contact BRE for a fire safety management GAP analysis to help you enhance and develop your fire safety management regime – email James Lavender at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on BRE's fire safety management service click here.