Fire Safety Regulations Guide


Firefighting Equipment and Facilities

Firefighting equipment can reduce the risk of a small fire, e.g. a fire in a waste-paper bin, developing into a large one. The safe use of an appropriate fire extinguisher to control a fire in its early stages can also significantly reduce the risk to other people in the premises by allowing people to assist others who are at risk.

This equipment will need to comprise enough portable extinguishers that must be suitable for the risk.

In simple premises, having one or two portable extinguishers of the appropriate type, readily available for use, may be all that is necessary. In more complex premises, a number of portable extinguishers may be required and they should be sited in suitable locations, e.g. on the escape routes at each floor level. It may also be necessary to indicate the location of extinguishers by suitable signs.

Some premises will also have permanently installed firefighting equipment such as hose reels, for use by trained staff or firefighters.

People with no training should not be expected to attempt to extinguish a fire. However, all staff should be familiar with the location and basic operating procedures for the equipment provided, in case they need to use it. If your fire strategy means that certain people, e.g. fire marshals, will be expected to take a more active role, then they should be provided with more comprehensive training.

Other fixed installations and facilities to assist firefighters, such as dry rising mains and access for fire engines, or automatically operated, fixed fire suppression systems such as sprinklers and gas or foam flooding systems, may also have been provided.

Where these have been required by law, e.g. the Building Regulations or local Acts, such equipment and facilities must be maintained.

Similarly, if provided for other reasons, e.g. insurance, it is good practice to ensure that they are properly maintained.

In most cases it will be necessary to consult a competent service engineer. Keeping records of the maintenance carried out will help you demonstrate to the enforcing authority that you have complied with fire safety law.

Checklist

Are the portable fire extinguishers or any fixed firefighting equipment

provided suitable for controlling the risks identified?

Are there enough extinguishers sited throughout the premises at

appropriate locations?

Are the right types of extinguishers located close to the fire hazards

and can users get to them without exposing themselves to risk?

Are the extinguishers visible or does their position need indicating?

Have you taken steps to prevent the misuse of extinguishers?

Do you regularly check equipment provided to help maintain the

escape routes?

Do you carry out daily checks to ensure that there is clear access for

fire engines?

Are those who test and maintain the equipment competent to do so?

Do you have the necessary procedures in place to maintain any facilities

that have been provided for the safety of people in the building (or for

the use of firefighters, such as access for fire engines and firefighting lifts)?

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