Facilities managers wear many hats. Depending on the job required at that particular time, facilities managers and teams can be responsible for cleaning requirements, building security, and at the top of the priority list, fire safety.
It is the responsibility of the facilities manager to ensure that the building remains safe from fire and smoke. Carrying out regular fire and risk assessments, keeping formal logs of any incidents, and ensuring contractors testing and maintenance is up to date is a big part of the role.
To find out more about the roles and duties of a facilities manager, make sure to check our homepage for regular updates and information relating to health and safety guidelines and regulations.
In this post, we look at the area of fire safety training for employees and the role and responsibility of the facilities manager
Health and Safety fire training
Fire safety is the highest priority for a facilities team. Not only is it a requirement of the Regulatory Reform Order 2005, but it’s also vital to keep employees/visitors safe at all times and avoid any damage to the building and its contents.
This makes fire safety training for all staff vital. Everyone must be aware of the risks and understand what processes to follow in the event of a fire.
Facilities manager UK must understand:
- Fire safety management
- Fire safety legislation
- Fire prevention
- Fire risk assessments
- Fire procedures
- Role of fire wardens
- Staff training
- How to test and maintain fire systems
- How to maintain records of testing and maintenance
- How to carry out fire evacuations
- How to test fire protection equipment
- Business fire strategy,
- And more.
Governing fire and safety in the workplace is the Regulatory Reform Order 2005. This particular piece of guidance and regulatory information provides facility managers with vital information on their responsibilities regarding safety, evacuation procedures, hazard reporting, and more.
Professional fire and safety training will use the 2005 guidelines as the basis of the training and any ongoing facility updates.
Company fire safety policies should therefore include:
- Arrangements for fire management
- How to eliminate the risk
- How to reduce fire incidents
- Staff training procedures, and
- Regular reviews of fire risks.
Fire management responsibilities within this area should also include:
- Ensuring effective implementation of policy
- Monitoring of performance
- Endorsing of fire safety policies
- Ensuring relevant information is passed down to staff
- Checking fire alarm call points
- Ensuring that fire doors work.
A robust Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) will help outline the what, who, and how, to form a strategy that includes means of escape, smoke ventilation information, sprinkler systems, fire strategy, etc.
The science behind the cause
Also known as the fire triangle, understanding the science behind the cause helps to demonstrate to employees what causes a fire and how a fire can start.
This triangle encompasses heat, fuel, and oxygen.
Understanding these three elements then allows for facilities manager training to delve into how to combat each element. For example:
Heat – can be extinguished with cold water.
Fuel – can be starved by removing its combustible materials.
Oxygen – smother the fire with a suitable blanket.
Facilities managers are also responsible for ensuring the right fire safety equipment is in place and suitable for the business and the department in question.
Fire can be classified into five different bands and is determined by the materials that are involved in the blaze.
These classes include:
Class A – includes any solid materials, i.e., wood, paper, plastics, fabrics, etc.
Class B – flammable liquids, i.e., solvents, paint, oil, petrol, etc.
Class C – combustible or flammable gases, i.e., butane, methane, propane, etc.
Class D – flammable metals, i.e., potassium, aluminium, titanium.
Class F – cooking oils and fats.
Depending on the industrial sector you operate in will determine which class of fire your teams should receive training in.
Fire extinguishers are one of the primary defenses in combating fire; hence, training in using these pieces of equipment should be a minimum requirement for the nominated fire safety marshals.
Note: Fire extinguishers should only be used on small and controlled fires.
Types of fire extinguishers:
Water (red) – suitable for Class A fires
Co2 (black) – suitable for Class B fires
Powder (blue) – suitable for Class B, C, and F fires
Foam (cream) – suitable for Class A and B fires
Wet Chemicals (yellow) – suitable for Class F fires.
It can often be the responsibility of the facilities manager to train staff on the different types of fire extinguisher equipment and how to use them.
Facilities management can be an extensive area, holding a lot of responsibility. Our team can provide you with facilities management support, providing you with peace of mind that everything is in safe, professional hands.
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Reference video: Zippyangels Productions