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FIRE SAFETY FOR FIRE WARDENS Richard Norris, Fire Safety Adviser

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1 FIRE SAFETY FOR FIRE WARDENS Richard Norris, Fire Safety Adviser
Introduction Why you are here Expected duration of event

2 Introductions and background General Fire Safety
SESSION OBJECTIVES Introductions and background General Fire Safety Fire alarm investigation Fire Warden role Home Fire Safety Warn of use of Bradford video

3 Introductions and Background
Domestics Refreshments Toilets Fire Alarm / Assembly area Format of the session Rest break – optional? Why the need for trained fire wardens? Domestics if event at OPH Session to be two-way discussion not just a presentation. Fire wardens a requirement of RRO and are essential to fire safety management of a building. Lack of knowledgeable FW can lead to disasters becoming tragedies: Bradford fire.

4 QUESTION: Who is responsible for fire safety in your building?
EVERYONE IN THE BUILDING! That includes Students, Contractors, Visitors Remind attendees they are responsible – it’s not down to someone else!

5 What is a fire? … A fire can be defined as “A chemical reaction called combustion that involves the rapid oxidisation of combustible materials, accompanied by a release of energy in the form of heat and light”… Photo of Chemistry fire 20:56 Saturday. Either an electrical fault or a hot appliance placed in a cupboard.



8 FIRE TRIANGLE Fuel Oxygen Ignition Sources/Heat
Flammable gases Flammable liquids Flammable solids Oxygen Air we breath (21% O2) Additional sources from oxidising substances & cylinders All fires comprise these three elements. All extinguishers work by removing or reducing one or more of the elements. What element would a water PFE be used on? Ignition Source/Heat Where would a CO2 extinguisher be used (indoors or out) – Indoors. It works by reducing the O2 in the atmosphere. Would it be safe to be in a room if a CO2 was let off? Generally yes as the O2 needs to be reduced to around 17% before people are affected. O2 levels of around 14% present a real life risk. Mention suppression systems. Ignition Sources/Heat Hot Surfaces Electrical equipment Static electricity Smoking/naked flames

9 How does fire spread? Conduction – occurs when heat is directly applied to a material, which then transfers the heat to other locations e.g. metal girders Convection – is the process where heat is transferred by hot air and smoke travelling through buildings unchecked Radiation – is the heat we feel given off by a fire Also consider: Fire creep Burning embers Flashover

10 Fires don’t make appointments Fires can occur at home and at work
BURNING ISSUES Fires don’t make appointments Fires can occur at home and at work All big fires start as little fires People die in fires every day – most are killed by smoke Knowing what to do saves lives Fire safety is common sense, just like general safety – these are common sense statements. (Called common sense but it’s not very common) What causes the most number of fires in the workplace? 3 = electrical faults, 2 = smoking (pre-smoking ban!), 1 = Arson (up to 50% of fires in the workplace deliberately set) Potential risk in Precinct buildings as it is very difficult to keep wheelie bins etc well away from buildings. Top causes of fire at home: 4 = smoking, 3 = electrical, 2 = heating / fires, 1 = cooking. Few fires start as large fires (except explosions?) but small fires can grow really quickly. Flashover

11 University of Bristol fires:
30 since January 3 in Hall study bedrooms / 4 in Hall kitchens / Chemistry 07 / Engineering 08 / Students’ Union September 09 Most caused by faults with electrical equipment This does not include “cooking fires” where people have left cooking unattended and it has started to smoulder! 100s false fire alarms EVERY YEAR!



14 Student building shut after fire (15. 9. 09)
A university students' union building has been closed after a large fire broke out. The blaze broke out at the canoe club inside the building on Queen's Road in Bristol. A fire service spokesman said the swimming pool was also affected. The cause of the fire is under investigation. (PRESS) A fire in a storage area adjacent to the University of Bristol's Students' Union Building has caused some smoke damage to the premises, and consequently the building will be closed for at least 48 hours."

What are the options? Call Brigade? Alarms are not connected to the fire brigade Fight Fire? Raise alarm? Shout fire? Evacuate? Turn of power/gas?


17 Raise the alarm Examples of a current Fire Action Notice adjacent the red fire alarm break-glass (Manual Call Point) Old “orange” signs not complaint and must be replaced – contact H & SO for replacements Mention other colours of break glasses – green for door over-ride, cream, blue (do different things)

18 Escape / Evacuate the building
Pass through fire doors and follow the escape signs through the place of relative safety (escape route) to the place of ultimate safety – through the final exit to the fresh air outside. Escape routes should contain signs, lighting, fire points. They are a place of relative safety en-route to the place of ultimate safety – outside at the assembly area.

19 Go to the assembly area A typical assembly point / assembly area sign.
Stay there until you are told it is OK to go back to work, or the building cannot be re-entered – go home or elsewhere. Assembly points should be signed (example of sign on slide) but as most of our assembly points are in public highway we cannot install signs. Signs should be provided by Gardens and Grounds or the Senior Surveyor from Building Services.

20 First priority is to raise the alarm, but how?
ON DISCOVERY OF A FIRE First priority is to raise the alarm, but how? Do you call Security or the fire brigade – dial , 88777, or 999 or something else? ( off-precinct?) Fight the fire ONLY if competent to do so Leave the building by your NEAREST means of escape Go to the assembly area You need to know what applies in your building People attending these events will not be competent in fire fighting with PFE. People do not use their nearest means of escape but prefer to use the main entrance/exit they are familiar with – wardens need to encourage people to use all available escape routes. People do not go to the assembly area but mill around outside, or go to the shops etc. Wardens must encourage people to go to the assembly area.

21 When the fire alarms sound…..
Does it mean evacuate or prepare to evacuate? Is it just a test or the real thing? It is essential we all react correctly Explain the consequences of assuming it is a false alarm. In the Woolworth's Fire in people died, 9 of which ignored the warnings. Management control was also very poor. The fire started at point E 1.7) Lunchtime on OAP concession day – paid for their meals – didn’t see smoke or flame, fire grew rapidly. REMEMBER - always ask the question “was that a false alarm?” from the fresh air!!!!!!


After raising the alarm If you have a clear means of escape To aid your escape (unless you are competent?) In the very early stages of a small fire If you are aware of different types of fire extinguisher EEC Directive in 1997 What were te colours we were used to: Red = water Blue = Powder Black = CO2 Cream = foam Green = Halon/BCF. Unless we have been there when a fire starts (caused it?) the first most of us will know of a fire is when we hear the alarm. By this stage it is generally too large to deal with safely with a PFE. (e.g. the Arts water heater fire or the study bedroom fire)

24 Fire Extinguisher Types
Water Red: paper, wood, etc. – organic solids. Not electrical equipment, liquids or gases Foam Cream: solids & liquids Not electrical equipment or gases Powder Blue: solids, liquids, gases & electrical equipment CO2 Black: liquids, electrical equipment, safe on most small fires Fire blanket Good extinguisher for general use – MUST cover the whole fire Standard provision in UoB = water and CO2. Blankets in some labs and in kitchens where cooking takes place. Some powders and foams where RA identified the need. Provided to comply with the Law and to aid escape if needed.

25 Ensure that electrical equipment is checked
Prevention of fire Ensure that electrical equipment is checked Store combustible waste correctly Store flammable liquids correctly Sources of ignition to be controlled Explain PAT testing arrangements. Highlight the huge increase in risk within the home (“electrical” fires cause most deaths in the home from fire) Refer to means of escape when explaining where items should not be stored. (Biggest cause of fires in the home is kitchen fires but they don’t cause the most deaths) Anyone can spot a frayed lead or scorched socket or other visibly defect. Report it and get it dealt with. Photo is not of a University office but the equal has been seen in one or two buildings here.

26 Allow a safe exit from a building
Means of Escape Allow a safe exit from a building Must be kept clear and available at all times Have fire doors, installed to help prevent the spread of smoke, fumes and fire Can fire doors ever be wedged or held open? Explain compartmentation, passive and active fire protection and the prevention of the spread of smoke, fumes and flames to allow a safe means of escape HIGHLIGHT THAT THE GREATEST RISK IS FROM SMOKE AND FUMES. (80% of people that die in fires die from smoke inhalation) Explain areas of relative safety (refuge areas) and why less able bodied people should leave slightly behind everyone else, with a buddy for their own safety! Line Managers are responsible for conducting a risk assessment Explain why MOE should be kept clear of non-combustible items not just combustibles. Note the sign on the staircase wall Preventing build-up of combustible materials in a single-stair building is essential as the staircase and hallway is generally the only means of escape for people on upper floors. Talk about emergency lighting and the requirements of BS 5266 Explain the make up of a fire door using an example within the building if possible. Point out that it is the weakest link in the compartmentation along with lack of fire stopping. Highlight the dangers of wedging doors open and the legal implications Talk about fire risk assessment

Building construction: Primary construction Secondary construction Compartmentation Fire points Stairwells / enclosures Passive fire safety measures Active fire safety measures Occupancy: numbers, activities, capabilities Design features (intended use, numbers of people: exits, travel distances, time of evacuation) Management control Construction (Primary = Class A, B or C), Secondary. Compartmentation. Management control is key. Poor management control leads to fires: Woolworths, Bradford, Newquay)

28 Fire Alarm Investigation – Why?
To comply with the University’s Fire Safety Policy - approved in July aimed at reducing the number of false alarm attendances the University generates To comply with the Avon Fire and Rescue Service Procedure “Call Challenge” introduced in October 2007.

29 Fire Alarm Investigation – How?
Ideally the investigation team is three people: one at the alarm panel, two to investigate cause of activation. Circumstances must dictate. “Searchers” use correct techniques. Maintain radio or mobile phone contact with the person at the alarm panel. Always be prepared to abandon the search.

30 Fire Alarm Investigation - Failsafe
Always rely on your instinct – if it doesn’t feel right, don’t go any further, abandon the search and get the Brigade out. If you see smoke or flame or if you smell smoke, abandon the search and get the Brigade out. “Double Knock” – smoke is spreading and more detectors are activating Manual call point – assume a real fire, do not investigate, call the Brigade Heat detector – less sensitive than a smoke detector – assume a real fire and call the Brigade Investigation time (two-stage alarm system only)

31 Investigation Techniques
Use hands, eyes, nose and ears! Scan the area you are approaching but don’t forget to regularly check to the sides and behind Note locations of manual call points and fire extinguishers Touch walls/doors etc with the back of the hand Feel doors for heat before opening, starting at the top How to open the door safely … If heat felt or smoke seen/smelt DON’T open the door – ABANDON THE SEARCH AND CALL THE BRIGADE Look for signs of detector activation: (rapid flash or permanently on LED)

32 What is a Fire Warden ? THE FIRE WARDEN ROLE
The primary objective of a fire warden is to check that their designated area has been cleared and report to the person controlling the evacuation They may be required to assist people from the building that cannot escape unaided They may be involved with “crowd control” and moving people away from the building towards the assembly area. They may be involved in monitoring final exits to prevent people re-re-entering the building before being authorised to do so. Fire Wardens may also be involved in the preparation of fire evacuation plans, in risk assessments and generally promoting fire safety

33 FIRE WARDEN ROLE – normal day to day activities
Monitor access and egress routes including refuges if installed Don’t allow house-keeping to slip (build-up of fire load) Keep an eye on extinguishers, smoke detectors, emergency lights, escape signs and fire doors. Co-ordinate / liaise with other Fire Wardens Over a period of time check the fire alarm can be heard in all locations/rooms.

34 FIRE WARDEN DUTIES – when the alarm sounds
Put on any issued distinctive clothing (e.g. high viz jacket) Plan your sweep so that you always move towards your floor exit If possible, turn off equipment and close doors/windows as you pass Check all accessible rooms including toilets, and refuges if installed. Communicate to all the need to evacuate using designated routes Post-evacuation debriefing meetings What if you find someone who refuses to evacuate? What if you are not in your area when the alarm sounds?

35 Fire Warden Duties – when the alarm sounds
Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 7. It shall be the duty of every employee while at work : a) to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work ; and b) as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-operate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with. Fire Warden Duties – when the alarm sounds Report to the incident controller that your floor is clear, or advise of the name and precise location of any person needing assistance. Take the name of any one who refuses to leave and report them to the officer in charge of the evacuation. Assist the incident controller with crowd control, ensuring adequate access for the fire brigade Monitor final exit doors to prevent unauthorised re-entry into the building? Explain the significance of sec 7 of HASWA with regard to fire drills REMEMBER IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT PUT YOURSELF AT ANY EXTRA RISK

PEEPs Refuges When should disabled evacuate? Who provides assistance? What about the “unknown” visitor People organising meetings / events

37 Home fire safety …Install smoke alarms GET OUT ! STAY OUT!!
… Close downstairs doors at night …Teach the family how to react to fire … Know what to do if a fire starts … GET OUT ! STAY OUT!! GET THE FIRE BRIGADE OUT !!! Use real life scenarios to get message across regarding the importance of smoke alarms and explain to people that you loose your sense of smell when you sleep Show ‘Fire Kills’ video - explain what led to tragedy (teach family how to react to fire) Explain what steps must be taken to reduce the risks Talk about risks from candles and how they are increasingly being used Show ‘Bradford City Football Fire Video’ after this slide. IMPORTANT - remember to position the video before showing

58 PEOPLE KILLED 100S INJURED Remember to position the video before showing, giving people the chance to choose whether to watch the video or take a break! Mention clock / amount of time for fire to spread right through stand. Ask question – what would have happened if the fire occurred at Hillsborough

39 Following the video discuss how the tragedy could have been avoided by better management control and discuss the root cause of the fire Also use the diagram to highlight how fire wardens could have been used to dramatically increase peoples survival chances in this fire. (By posting them at the back of the stadium ready to open the gates in the event of fire and to usher people towards the front of the stand and onto the pitch) Remind people that we said at the beginning of the session “All big fires start as little fires” and this was no different. 3 Minutes before the evacuation was initiated the Police were asking for fire extinguishers. Explain how the fire brigade (rightly or wrongly) were held officially 1/3 responsible for the fire for not issuing a prohibition notice. (They instead chose to issue an improvement notice on two occasions). Investigators consider the following points to be contributory factors: Building construction; ventilation for fire growth, reluctance of people to evacuate at first signs of smoke (history of smoke bombs / assumed another); design of escape routes and peoples’ desire to use familiar exit; rapid deterioration of visibility and increase in toxic gases; rapid fire spread beneath the roof and associated high radiant heat temperatures 20+MW; the high level of the gangway/escape route at the rear of the stand subjected escapees to heat and toxic gases.

40 Fire deserves our respect
Summary Fire deserves our respect Treat all alarms as real unless told otherwise On discovery of a fire - raise alarm - call the Fire Brigade - leave building Know all of your escape routes Fire Prevention is better than Fire Fighting We all carry responsibility for fire safety

41 Further Information .uk or for a free home fire safety visit (Home Fire Safety) Health and safety Executive (HSE) website: Health and Safety Office website:

42 OBJECTIVES COVERED Introductions and background General Fire Safety Fire alarm investigation Fire Warden role Home Fire Safety

43 THANK YOU! Contact me on: 01179 298784, 07786 397655 or
Change this phone number to your own Contact me on: , or

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