|Fire Industry Association warns of a decreased firefighter attendance to fire detection and alarm systems
The Fire Industry Association (FIA) is urging businesses in Essex to review their fire risk assessments and seek advice to ensure their emergency procedures reflect changes in response by their local Fire Service which could result in no attendance to Automatic Fire Alarm (AFA) signals.
Essex Fire and Rescue Service has published an AFA Frequently Asked Questions guide on the front page of their website, www.essex-fire.gov.uk, which explains the new attendance policy based on receiving automatic signals from fire detection and alarm systems.
Essex FRS will not respond to Automatic Fire Alarms operating in offices, shops and factories. The FIA warns that many businesses rely on the principle that when their building is empty, e.g. evenings and weekends, that their detection system will send a signal to call the fire service to attend. All fire risk assessments based on a response from the fire service need to be reviewed.
The FIA recommends contacting your Fire Detection & Alarm maintenance company to review your system and reminds businesses that they are legally responsible for all fire safety issues within their premises. Essex FRS’s decision to reduce fire cover follows hard on the heels of an FIA Survey that has revealed that almost a fifth of UK companies have cut back on fire safety because of the current economic climate, despite almost 20% of businesses having already had a workplace fire. The same survey reported that approximately 30% of employees say that they wouldn’t know what to do in the event of a fire in the workplace and, more worryingly, almost half of those surveyed don’t feel that they have been given adequate training or information on fire safety by their employers.
Graham Ellicott, CEO of the FIA, commented: "These reductions in fire cover by fire brigades and in fire safety by businesses are very bad news for UK PLC where large loss fires are currently on the increase. Indeed, Fire & Rescue Services themselves often say that 80% of businesses that suffer a serious fire close with eighteen months".