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ncann88  
#1 Posted : 18 May 2020 10:26:55(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
ncann88

Good morning all, 

My business is currently closed so I'm using this time to catch up on reviews of safety documetns. This includes writing a fire safety policy and risk assessment which is actually worth having, my predecessor seems to have not had a clue. 

We have several buildings we let to youth groups as accomodation etc. They all have fire alarm systems linked to a control centre who contact me (I live oniste) etc etc. 

Anyway, I'm looking at fire extinguishers, we have a mix and fairly high quantity of fire extinguishers in all buildings. My question is, are they actually necessary? 

I personally prefer a 'Get Out' Policy and this is what our groups are told. So why do we have fire extinguishers? All bedrooms have a door to an ultimate place of safety leading people away from the building. Leaving fire extinguishers for the have a go hero, who then gets him/herself into difficulty. 

I've been met with some resistence from our managment comittee for various reasons including 'its what people expect to see'. 

I've propsed that we have an extinguisher box on the outside of each building, with maybe 2 waters and a co2 in each,  at the main entrance which could be accessed by my trained staff to tackle a small fire if they deemed it safe to. 

I'm struggling to see why we need them inside the building, when they could then be used by people who haven't been trainned, don't follow the instructions on the extinguisher and make the situation worse due to incorrect use or the incorrect extinguisher being used. 

Has anyone else removed extinguishers from effectively holiday accomodation? 

Thanks

Nick 

Mid Life  
#2 Posted : 18 May 2020 10:33:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mid Life

Nick

I can uinderstand your thoughts ref getting out and not producing a situation where an individual may stay to try and tackle a fire, however I was advised by the Fire Rescue Service that they may use the extinguishers themselves or equally as imporatant it may aid an individals evacuation from a fire. i.e passing through a door way should it be on fire. A good source of information and guidance is PAS 79

Regards

AcornsConsult  
#3 Posted : 18 May 2020 10:50:23(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
AcornsConsult

You could look at it that if the FEs are there, they could be used in the right circs as easily as someone could just leave the scene.  If the FEs are not there, then there are no options. ​​​​​​​On balance, I'd favour the opportunity to have an option to use it or run.

A Kurdziel  
#4 Posted : 18 May 2020 13:39:22(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

In a lot of places you can, certainly, rationalise, the number of fire extinguishers. One of my areas is a library (4 floors) and they are scattered about the building like confetti. Some are are near the centre of the floor or even underneath stairs. Nobody would ever use them. As far as I am concerned you just need some near the exit to give people the option to either fight the fire or to leave. I don’t want people wandering about the building looking for an extinguisher.

Kim Hedges  
#5 Posted : 18 May 2020 18:06:52(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kim Hedges

ncann88, you are looking at it back to front.  The requirement for extinguishers are for the 'victims' to get out of the building, not take an extiguisher back into the building to put out a fire.

Holiday accomodation, so you have guests expecting to see extinguishers.  Personally, I wouldn't stay in such accomodation if I couldn't see extinguishers.  (I stay in hotels and Air bnb accomodation a lot).

If a fire is in one of the rooms and can be extinguished quickly, so much the better, hence the need to have extinguishers in the corridors, where 'have a go heroes' can use them, but the real reason is to be able to extiguish fire in the corridors or simply to get people out of a burning room and into the corridor and away to safety. 

Thinking about it, I do hope you have fire escape signs and emergency lighting too. 

Edited by user 18 May 2020 18:11:23(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Messey  
#6 Posted : 18 May 2020 20:32:27(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Messey

Questions:

1) How old are the youths in the groups that are sleeping in the acommodation you manage?

2) Do they prepare their own food?

3) What is the supervision level/ratio (adults to youths)in the block - if any?

4) Is there a history of vandalism or horseplay with the extinguishers?

5) The size of buildings (floors, beds and staircases?)

'Youths' (15 to 24 year old), sleeping and unfamilar with the building is a high risk group and the removal of fire extinguishers is a very serious matter. I am not suprised the committee are anxious

The fire extinguisher points you refer to may help mitigate the risks associated with the removal in the building. But please take lots of care. 

The Chief Fire Officers Association (as was)  have issued guidance for fire safety inspection teams. In relation to inspections following fire incidents, their advice regarding extinguisher provision v prosecution is: 

1. Extinguishers are not provided. No effort is made to fight the fire AND people escape the premises safely. Enforcing authorities are unlikely to have cause to prosecute.

  1. Extinguishers are not provided. No effort is made to fight the fire AND people do not escape safely. Enforcing authorities are likely to consider prosecution.

  2. Extinguishers are provided. No effort is made to fight the fire AND people escape the premises safely. Enforcing authorities are unlikely to have cause to prosecute.

  3. Extinguishers are provided. No effort is made to fight the fire AND people do not escape safely. Enforcing authorities are likely to consider prosecution.

  4. Extinguishers are provided. The fire is effectively tackled using fire extinguishers. Regardless of whether the evacuation procedures are successful, the risk from fire is eliminated. Benefits also include business continuity, environmental protection, fire- fighter safety etc.

  5. Extinguishers are provided. An effort is made to fight the fire using fire extinguishers but fails AND all people escape unharmed. Enforcing authorities are unlikely to have cause to prosecute.

  6. Extinguishers are provided. An effort is made to fight the fire using fire extinguishers but the employee is harmed as a result. Enforcing authorities are likely to consider prosecution.

thanks 2 users thanked Messey for this useful post.
toe on 20/05/2020(UTC), Kim Hedges on 24/05/2020(UTC)
toe  
#7 Posted : 20 May 2020 22:50:20(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
toe

Your Management Committee (Stakeholders) quite rightly should question your rational. Equally, if I was a committee member, I would also be concerned that you would ask such a significant safety question in a public forum, which may indicate a limitation in competence.

Fire Safety in sleeping accommodation is critical. I would never advise the removal of fire fighting equipment in such environments.

As always with respect to Fire Safety, Messy’s post is helpful. Speak with your local Fire Safety Officer and check with your Insures.

thanks 2 users thanked toe for this useful post.
Kim Hedges on 24/05/2020(UTC), Steve Lewis on 08/06/2020(UTC)
firesafety101  
#8 Posted : 22 May 2020 12:01:18(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

My view:  If you provide fire extinguishers they must be sited correctly i.e. near to the exit to enable people to make the decision to either keep on walking or return to fight the fire.

This means everyone who is likely to have a go must be trained in using extinguishers.  This will give them the knowledge required for them to make that decision.

I will always recommend extinguishers of the correct type and size to be sited inside a premises, otherwise how would a small fire be prevented from becoming a large fire.

Get out,

Sound the alarm

Call the fire brigade out,

Attack the fire if safe to do so.

thanks 1 user thanked firesafety101 for this useful post.
Kim Hedges on 24/05/2020(UTC)
ncann88  
#9 Posted : 02 June 2020 19:36:18(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
ncann88

Thank you for your replies, particularly those calling into question my competence very much appreciated. I would like to give a little background on this. I have previously worked in this type of environment where our fire risk assessor (highly qualified registered etc) suggested the removal of extinguishers due to the preference of evacuating. This was accepted by the insurance company and the fire authority. The site I am at now, all sleeping accomodatn has an exit to a place of ultimate safety, ie every room has a door that leads out of the building to the outside along with a door into the building. a tested and operational alarm system and emergency lighting exit signage etc. Catering for all ages from 6- adult, kids have adult supervision although obviously don't have adult sleeping in the same room as them. Kitchens are in a seperate area and generally speaking kids don't cook for themselves. I do somewhat struggle to understand the point of locating a fire extinguisher adjacent to the final exit door of the building. Are there many scenarios where doors to the outside are on fire but not internal doors. The best reason being that at least you'd know where it was or could use it to smash the glass / door if it was for some reason stuck. Presumably if you've managed to get through a building without a fire extinguisher available until you reach the fire exit you're probably not going to start using it then.
stevedm  
#10 Posted : 03 June 2020 08:33:49(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
stevedm

To just put a little twist on this...the widely held belief is that people panic in fires...in most instances that isn't the case...they tend to act rationally based on the information and knowledge they are familiar with...which includes routes - even though they may not be the shortest...and the same can be applied to the use of FE..

We talk a lot about risk perception but we don't really get 'under the hood' as the americans say, of how we process that perception....

In general people who are well informed and well practiced will be rational and follow what they believe to be trusted routes and actions....my personal comment is always that individuals are rational but people are irrational....

When you look specifically at the 'fight or flight' response it really does depend on your level of understanding of the world around you (and I mean life, the universe and everything here - yes I know 42...right? :) ) so would thier preception mean that they would take the time to use a FE at the detriment of thier own safety or precieve that they are expected to use it and thefore stay put again putting themselves at risk...is the eduction they have received on fire safety - free detectors, free fire extingushers etc putting a unhealthy reliance on them to protect?

Not sure I have helped you out here but essentially what I am trying to get across is this:

To be able to put an effective strategy in place you need to understand what (or who) you are protecting and how best to ensure that thuier behaviours - individual and group are modified or educated to support your strategy...food for thought

There are a couple of theories you might find useful to be come familiar with - Protection Motivation and Extended Parallel Processing both are models set to depict how people react in fear..

 

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