Fire Safety Essentials for Departmental Safety Coordinators Fire Officers - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Fire Safety Essentials for Departmental Safety Coordinators Fire Officers


Fire Safety Essentials for Departmental Safety Coordinators Fire Officers – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Fire Safety Essentials for Departmental Safety Coordinators Fire Officers

Fire Safety Essentials for Departmental Safety
Coordinators/ Fire Officers
  • What you need to know

City University London 2001
Fire can have major consequences we all need
to be aware of the risks in our workplace.
About this presentation
  • The aim of this presentation is to provide you
    with basic fire safety information to enable you
    to fulfil your role as Departmental Safety
    Coordinator and/or Fire Officer. Following the
    guidelines will ensure that the risk of fire and
    any subsequent damage to property and injury to
    staff and students is kept to as low a level as

About this presentation
  • The key issues that will be covered are
    Who is responsible for fire
  • Basic Fire prevention methods
  • Fire detection and fire fighting
  • Means of escape
  • Relevant management systems
  • Fire safety and disabled people
  • Relevant fire safety documentation

Who is responsible for fire safety?
  • The University Safety Policy states - The
    Head or manager of each Department/School or
    other unit is responsible for ensuring fire
  • They will be assisted by a nominated Fire Officer
    and Deputy from within the department/School
    (this could be the Departmental Safety
  • The Director of Facilities Management is
    responsible for fire safety requirements
    associated with the building and services, e.g.
    fire detection systems, fire extinguishers, etc

Key fire personnel and duties
  • Depending on the size and activities carried out
    in your department one or all of the following
    will be involved in fire safety
  • The Fire Officer (will be responsible for
    coordinating fire alarm tests, evacuation drills,
    liaison with fire authority, etc.)
  • The Building manager (likely to be involved in
    fire alarm testing and in ensuring a call is made
    to the fire authority)
  • Fire wardens (some buildings may have additional
    staff acting as fire wardens). Their job is to
    ensure the building is cleared of people in an
    emergency and to report to the assembly point and
    pass on relevant information to the Fire Officer.

What about individual responsibilities?
  • Apart from being the Departmental Safety
    coordinator/Fire Officer, you as an employee have
    legal duties which cover fire safety,
  • You must look after yourself and others who may
    be affected by your acts or omissions
  • You must cooperate with your employer so that
    they can meet their legal duties
  • You must not interfere with or misuse anything
    provided for your safety
  • You must report any defects or failures in the
    safety arrangements in your area

What does that mean in practice?
  • You are, for example, failing to comply with both
    the law and University policy if you
  • Wedge open fire doors
  • Smoke at your workplace
  • Fail to report damaged fire equipment
  • Misuse fire extinguishers, e.g. by using them as
    door wedges
  • Block fire exits and routes with equipment or
  • Remain in your workplace when the fire alarm
    sounds (excluding weekly fire alarm tests)

Fire Prevention
  • Key issues

Fire risk assessment
  • Risk assessment of any project or process should
    include fire risk assessment.
  • Every DSC should complete Departmental fire
    risk assessment significant findings sent with
    SC71, and update if necessary.

Maintaining compartmentation
  • Fire doors must be kept closed fire
    extinguishers are not door wedges!
  • Office doors on dead end corridors must be kept
  • Where possible, and before leaving the building,
    close windows/doors if alarm sounds
  • NB significant changes to rooms should not be
    made without consultation with Facilities

Not acceptable!
Report damage to walls, ceilings and doors
Fire doors
  • Some fire doors are held open by a magnetic
    détente (see picture opposite). If the fire
    alarm system is activated the doors will
    automatically close. As with all fire doors, it
    is important that these are not blocked. The
    doors should be checked as part of the fire drill
    to ensure they close once the alarm is sounded.
    Ask people to report any problems to you.

Keeping routes clear - inside
  • Fire exits must be kept clear at all times.
    Equipment and combustible materials should not be
    stored on escape routes.
    NB some items of electrical equipment are
    allowed if additional precautions are taken (e.g.
    they do not cause an obstruction, they are fitted
    with RCD protection, and alternative exits are

Not acceptable!
General housekeeping
  • Do not allow unnecessary paper or other
    combustible material to accumulate in the
  • Waste bins must be emptied on a regular basis
  • Recyclable materials should be removed from the
    workplace regularly

Not acceptable!
Preventing arson
  • Encourage staff to secure their rooms when
  • Dont let external waste bins become overfilled
    making lids difficult to close. Do not let waste
    accumulate on floors around the bins. Keep lids
    to waste bins and waste bin compound gates closed
    (preferably locked)
  • Encourage staff to close windows when workplaces
    are not occupied (especially if on the ground

Not acceptable!
Electrical safety
  • Portable electrical equipment checks must be
    carried out at regular intervals (varies from 1
    to 5 years)
  • Visual checks of equipment should be carried out
    on a regular basis
  • Ensure electrical items are switched off when not
    in use
  • Inform staff not to carry out your electrical
    repairs unless they are competent to do so!
  • Do not trail electrical cables under carpets,
    rugs, etc

Not acceptable!
Smoking policy
  • The University is a no smoking area (with very
    limited exceptions). Encourage staff to only
    smoke outside of buildings and away
    from the main entrances.

Flammable liquid control
  • The amount of flammable liquids in a workplace
    must be kept to a minimum. This should never
    exceed 50 litres. Dedicated solvent stores must
    be used for larger amounts.
  • Fire resisting bins must be used for containers
    of gt 500ml

Good storage in fire resistant cupboards
Flammable gas control
  • Where possible, flammable gases should not be
    kept indoors but rather piped in from outside
  • If this is not possible, then they should be kept
    in a fire resistant compartment vented to outside
  • If only used for short periods they should be
    returned to a designated area after use
  • They should never be stored on a means of escape
  • Spare cylinders should be kept in a dedicated
    storage area

Acceptable for short term use return to
designated storage area on completion
Damaged furniture
  • Damaged furniture, e.g. when foam begins to show,
    should be removed from the workplace

Not acceptable!
Methods of heating rooms
  • LPG heaters and old electric bar fires should be
    avoided in the workplace
  • Fan heaters should not be used in laboratory
    areas containing flammable liquids. If temporary
    heating is required, portable radiators or
    convector heaters (see opposite) should be used.
  • Combustible items should not be placed near or on
    heating equipment, particularly ceramic/quartz
    space heaters

Avoid unnecessary flames
Naked flames , e.g. Bunsen burners, are only
permitted if absolutely essential to the work.
Dont allow candles to be brought into the
workplace - A small candle can cause considerable
Fire detection and fire fighting
Means of detecting fire
  • Most buildings are fitted with an automatic
    detection system. The main control panel and
    detector heads are regularly checked and
    maintained by Facilities Management.
  • Any maintenance work carried out is recorded in
    the Fire Precautions log book, kept near the main
    alarm panel in a brown wooden box.

Alarm panel and fire precautions box
Detector head no obstructions
What to do if you detect a fire
  • Fire action notices are located at various points
    in your building. These tell staff what to do if
    you detect a fire, i.e.
  • Verbally raise the alarm
  • Activate the alarm via the nearest call point
  • Call the fire brigade (2222) and give location
  • Without putting yourself at risk, close windows,
    switch off equipment, gas supplies, etc before
    leaving the building

Fire action notice giving fire instructions and
assembly point
999 has to be used in limited areas outside the
Emergency telephone number
  • Everybody should be aware of the emergency
    telephone number(s) needed to contact the
    emergency services. In addition to informing
    staff, check to see if telephones in your area
    have the red emergency sticker attached (it will
    be useful for people who visit your area but are
    unfamiliar with the number).

Means of detecting fire
  • Remember the best fire detector is YOU!
  • Be aware of what processes and activities take
    place in your area and always be prepared to use
    the alarm call points if you find a fire

Call point with plastic protective cover
Fire detection
  • Check any ceiling detectors in your area to
    ensure they are not accidentally obstructed or
  • Pay particular care after contractors have been
    in the area. Detector heads may have been
    temporarily covered with plastic caps (see
    photograph opposite) and not removed at the end
    of the work.

Fire detection
  • Also ensure that someone has not deliberately
    covered detector heads to allow them to carry out
    unauthorised activities. In the case opposite,
    the person concerned was fined 200!

Fire extinguishers and their use
  • Fire extinguishers are available at various
    locations throughout your building. Staff should
    be familiar with the location and basic
    operations. More detailed training in their use
    should be provided to those who have been given a
    more active role in fire fighting.
  • NB - The main priority must always be to evacuate
    the building and not to fight fires.

Using the correct extinguisher
  • NB newly fitted extinguishers are now mostly
    red in colour with only a different coloured band
    around its neck indicating its contents. Above
    each extinguisher there should be a sign that
    indicates what each fire extinguisher contains
    and what it can be used on (see photograph

Maintaining fire equipment
  • Each fire extinguisher, fire hose reel and fire
    blanket, should have a service record label
    attached to it showing its maintenance record
    (see photograph opposite). No fire fighting
    equipment should be used if this is not up to

Fire escape
  • What to do if the
  • alarm sounds

Fire action notices
  • Fire action notices in your building detail what
    needs to be done if the alarm sounds, i.e.
  • Evacuate the building by the quickest route
  • Do not attempt to collect personal belongings
  • If possible close windows and doors on the way
  • Go straight to the assembly point and, if
    required, report any fire issues to the fire
    officer (they will be wearing a fluorescent

Recognising the alarm
  • In most areas, once the detection system is
    activated a distinctive and continuous bell or
    sounder will operate. Use the weekly test to
    ensure that you can hear the bell from your
    working area.
  • NB in some areas where it is difficult to hear
    the bell (or where the hard or hearing may work),
    flashing lights may also have been added. Ensure
    that these are visible from the working position
    and that they are kept clear of obstructions.

Fire alarm tests
  • The fire alarm system is checked weekly. Make
    sure staff are aware of the date and time of the
    test so that they do not confuse this test with a
    real situation. Ask staff to report to you any
    alarm bell that does not sound or any areas where
    the bell cannot be heard.

Emergency lighting
  • Where applicable, certain areas will be fitted
    with emergency lighting. If the main power fails
    and the main lights are affected, then the
    emergency lights will switch on.
  • Emergency lights should be checked regularly (as
    part of weekly cycle of tests) if the area had
    been fitted with test switches.
  • Ask staff to be aware of and report any areas
    they feel do not have enough lighting for escape

Familiarise yourself with the escape routes
  • Make sure staff know the alternative routes from
    your building they should not assume that the
    route they normally use to go in and out of the
    building will be available.
  • Staff should be encouraged to report to you any
    obstructions on the escape routes.

Not acceptable!
Familiarise yourself with the escape routes
  • Final exit doors can come in a variety of types.
    Staff should be familiar with the door types in
    their building. Examples of what you might find
    on final door exits are shown on the following

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Familiarise yourself with the escape routes
  • Some final exit doors may have push button
    systems to open the door. These should
    automatically release if the alarm is sounded. If
    the door does not release, use the emergency
    break glass release to open the door and report
    the fault to the fire officer at the assembly
  • The emergency release mechanism should be tested
    as part of the weekly rota of testing.

Escape from buildings
  • Staff should never use a lift to evacuate a
    building. This is because
  • they may fail
  • they may take you to the fire
  • NB some buildings have been fitted with
    specially designed lifts for disabled persons.
    Staff should only use these lifts if they are
    disabled or are assisting a disabled person out
    of the building

Assembly points
  • Staff should know the assembly points for your
    building. If in doubt, it will be written on the
    fire action notices in your building.
  • If the alarm sounds and staff have to evacuate,
    they should go directly to the assembly point.
    They should not just congregate outside of the
    building as this may hamper any emergency
    services that have to enter the building.

What if someone is in.?
  • A CL3 laboratory
  • An operating theatre
  • A confined space
  • The middle of a delicate procedure
  • REMEMBER Staff are expected to get out within
    2.5 minutes. They should be able to stop what you
    are doing, make it safe and then leave within
    this time

Evacuation drills
  • Evacuation drills should be carried out at least
    once a year in every building. Staff should not
    be told when this will happen. They should treat
    any extended sounding of the alarm as a real fire
    and evacuate accordingly.
  • NB certain routes should occasionally be
    blocked off by signs (see opposite) as part of
    the test. Staff will then be expected to find an
    alternative route to exit the building.

NB evacuation applies to everyone!
Know your fire signs
  • Blue circular signs provide information that is
    mandatory. Staff must follow the safety
    guidance provided. These will normally be found
    on fire doors, final exits, etc.
  • Worn or faded signs should be replaced contact
    Facilities management.

Know your fire signs
  • Green signs, provide important information.
    Directional running man and fire exit signs are
    examples of these.
  • Again old or damaged signs should be replaced.

Know your fire signs
  • Red coloured signs will indicate important fire
    safety information. These are normally found near
    fire extinguishers, hose reels, dry risers, call
    points, etc.
  • Old/damaged signs should be replaced

Relevant management systems
Day to day awareness
  • Everybody is responsible for reporting any
    failings or defects in the current fire safety
    arrangements. Facilities Management operate a
    telephone response desk that should be used for
    reporting any maintenance issues, e.g. damage to
    fire doors, missing signage or extinguishers,
    damage to walkways along escape routes, etc. All
    staff should be aware of this system.

Six monthly inspections
  • Each DSC should carry out at least two safety
    inspections a year fire safety issues can be
    picked up during these inspections and then
    reported back to the relevant persons, e.g.
    misuse of fire extinguishers, blocked fire exits,
    evidence of smoking in offices, etc.

  • Any hazardous experiments that have to run
    overnight will require an overnight permit to
    work. If staff intend to carry out overnight work
    where there is a risk of fire, they need to refer
    to and follow the guidance in SCR14.
  • If they intend to carry out hot work at any time
    of the day/night outside of a normal metalworking
    workshop, then a hot work permit will be required
    (see safety circular SCR01)

Out of hours working
  • Most buildings should run a working out of
    hours book. These should normally be kept near
    the main entrance to the building. If staff work
    outside of normal working hours then they must
    complete the book stating the start and finish
    time of the period spent in your workplace.

Disabled people
Personal Emergency evacuation plans (PEEP)
  • An individual PEEP needs to be devised for each
    disabled person (the Head of Dept is responsible
    for ensuring completion)
  • Disabled person covers permanent and temporary
  • These need to be discussed with the person
    concerned before finalising
  • A University Code of practice exists which
    provides further guidance

Personal Emergency evacuation plans (PEEP)
  • The PEEP may involve the use of one of all of the
    following -refuges
  • -evac chairs -assistance -restrictions
  • -special lifts
  • NB - The use of evac chairs will require a
    cohort of staff to be trained in its use.

Fire Safety documentation
  • University documents

Important fire safety documentation
  • As Departmental Safety Coordinator/Fire Officer,
    you should be aware of and have an understanding
    of the following documents
  • Safety circular SC03 Fire Safety management
  • Safety circular SC20 Fire drills
  • Safety circular SC31 Smoking policy
  • Safety circular SCR14 Overnight experiments
  • Safety circular SC05 Electrical checks
  • All available from

  • Get to know your building find out your escape
    routes and the quickest way out of the building
  • Look at the fire action notices in your area
    find out what to do if the alarm sounds, what to
    do if you find a fire and where to assemble
  • Be fire responsible dont do anything that
    could put yourself and others at risk and report
    any defects in the fire arrangements

Summary continued.
  • Carry out regular fire checks Weekly
    1. Test the call points 2. Test
    emergency lighting where possible 3. Test
    green boxes on electronically
    locked doors

Summary continued.
  • Carry out regular fire checks Six-mon
    thly Check fire doors close
    properly Check fire exit doors open
    easily Check that exit routes are
    clear Check flammables are stored
    safely Check that general housekeeping is to a
    good standard Check that the fire risk
    assessment is still applicable Check that the
    fire precautions log book entries are complete

Summary continued.
  • Carry out regular fire checks Daily
    Obvious faults should be reported
    immediately to the Response desk.

Summary continued
  • If you have any further questions about fire
    safety in your area there are a number of people
    you can speak to
  • Departmental Fire Officer/Safety Coordinator
  • Safety Officer (Facilities Management)
  • Safety Advisers Office

Thank you for your time.
  • Now go to the quiz to test your knowledge.
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