Fire protection and prevention
by Michael Gale, Fire Protection Association
The Fire Protection Association (FPA), is the UK's national fire safety organisation, and one of 28 similar national bodies worldwide. Supported by the Association of British Insurers and Lloyd's, the FPA's mandate is to:
- protect people, property and the environment by advancing fire prevention and protection techniques,
- collaborate with its members, insurers, central and local government, the fire service and others in this work,
- help focus national and international attention to such issues,
- influence related decision making by individual consumers and businesses,
- collect, analyse and publish statistics, identify trends and promote research,
- publish guidance, recommendations and codes of practice, and
- disseminate advice.
Thus the FPA works to identify and draw attention to the dangers of fire and the means by which their potential for loss can be kept to a minimum. Its services are designed to assist fire, security and safety professionals in industry and commerce, in the private and public sectors, achieve and maintain the highest standards of fire safety management.
Fire safety audits and inspections
A fire safety audit is an analysis of the fire risks in a particular premises and it will assess the likely effectiveness of detection, protection and management systems in the event of fire. Fire safety audits and inspections are an important aspect of the FPA's services. The work, undertaken on a commercial basis, is intended to assist property managers in planned maintenance and refurbishment projects. Employers also benefit by receiving advice on the fire safety management of their premises. Specialist FPA staff carry out inspections of specified features or conduct a comprehensive fire safety audit of the premises to ensure conformity with current legislation and codes of practice. The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended) and their implications for employers have generated increasing interest in fire risk assessments.
Inspections may be made in order to advise on:
- the risk to life and property from fire,
- means of escape, paying particular attention to escape routes, their accessibility and surface coverings,
- escape lighting and the means for giving warning in the event of fire,
- the suitability, maintenance and positioning of firefighting, fire detection and fire alarm equipment,
- housekeeping, fire drills and other aspects of fire safety management,
- upgrading fire protection systems,
- the needs of new developments,
- aspects of security, particularly concerning deliberate fire-raising.
The FPA's fire records database continues to expand and provides an increasing range of statistical information and case studies in respect of the UK fire scene. Searches may be made, on request.
Loss report forms
The collation of statistical data from insurers, fire brigades and the Home Office is an important task undertaken by the Fire Records Section. We are dependent on the support of insurers and loss adjusters in sending the FPA copies of loss report forms (both parts A and B), which are used to compile an annual large fire analysis.
On average, each year, the FPA receives and deals with a total of 4500 telephone enquiries and 780 written enquiries, varying in nature from a large number related to school projects to questions from architects designing shopping centres.
Training is a major FPA activity. The Association has been providing training courses since the late 1960s and now offers a range of more than 40 courses in its own training programme, in addition to those which it writes specifically to customers' requirements. Its expertise in training is widely recognised and is world-renowned for its technical content and flexible, cost-effective approach. A complete catalogue of the training courses offered by the FPA is available from the Training Administrator, FPA, Bastille Court, 2 Paris Garden, London SE1 8ND or fax your request to 020 7902 5301.
Membership of the FPA brings with it many benefits, including instant access to the Association's wide range of publications and audio-visual aids. Our single most important publication continues to be the journal Fire Prevention, which appears monthly and is the most popular technical journal serving the fire safety audience. The Association offers a wide range of other publications and products and also stocks most publications of the Loss Prevention Council. Publications are produced to advise members how to respond to current events or to help in the implementation of new legislation or to accompany a technical advance. Apply to the Publications department at the London HQ for a catalogue of publications.
FPA's publications, including the journal Fire Prevention, are indexed on the FIRE WORLDWIDE CD-ROM and also appear in full text on FIRE-CD. Both these products are available from SilverPlatter Health and Safety Publishing.
The FPA is involved with the organisation and conduct of a number of annual fire safety events.
Each year, the three partner organisations of Fire (FOBFO) Ltd, the FPA, CACFOA and IFE, jointly run the annual 'Fire' conference and supporting exhibition. Fire 2000 will take place in Manchester in November. The annual conference presents the fire industry with a unique opportunity to debate and discuss current developments in the world of fire prevention, fire safety engineering and firefighting.
Fire Safety Week
Fire Safety Week is a national event in which fire liaison panels from the national network play a major part. The FPA produce a range of supporting promotional materials each year, available free to fire brigades and other participating organisations.
Fire Safety Awards
The FPA's annual Fire Safety Awards scheme, in its fourteenth year in 1999, enables managers of premises in the public and private sectors to evaluate their existing standards of fire safety against a simple check-list and submit their details for consideration for an award. The scheme sets extremely high standards, embracing systems, procedures and general management. The network of fire liaison panels assist in the promotion of the scheme and help to assess the original group of submissions and reduce it to the short list for final judging.
Fire Safety Youth Quiz
The national Fire Safety Youth Quiz in 1999 attracted nearly 1500 teams, bringing the total number of teams taking part since the competition became a national event in 1977 to 52,689 (some 263,000-plus competitors). The FPA is pleased to provide financial support and resources for this national event organised by the Chief & Assistant Chief Fire Officers' Association.
Fire liaison in the regions
The national network of fire liaison panels, area groups and local fire protection associations has experienced a range of pressures in the 30-plus years it has been in existence. The FPA continues to be grateful for the support of over 1200 individuals who are involved in the running of the 100-plus panels and groups. An annual meeting for representatives provides an opportunity to exchange views about fire safety matters generally, to review the activities of the latest Fire Safety Week and to lay plans for the next. The list of fire liaison panels is published in the FPA's Fire Protection Yearbook.
The Fire Protection Association
Bastille Court, 2 Paris Garden, London SE1 8ND
Tel: +44 (0)20 7902 5300 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7902 5301 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org