How does fire spread?This may seem like an obvious question, but not everyone knows how easy it is for a fire to quickly get out of control and this can be accelerated by a few key elements:
- A source of ignition – something has to start the fire. This can be anything from faulty wiring to a match, a candle, cigarette or anything that can get very hot such as hair straighteners.
- Oxygen – fires cannot grow or spread without a source of oxygen.
- Fuel – Buildings and households are full of potential fuel sources ranging from furniture to loose packaging materials, waste rubbish and documents.
What must the building manager do to be fire safe?The landlord of a building has a legal duty to help keep anyone who rents their property safe from fire through the provisions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. For building owners or managers, proper fire risk assessments of the building must be carried out and fire detection provisions such as fire alarms must be in full working order and regularly checked to avoid faults or failures. Providing and maintaining passive fire protection within the building is essential. This can be through using the right fire protection surface coatings and having fire resisting or self closing doors to help protect residents and allow them to safely escape from fire or smoke. There should also be an emergency plan in place in the event of a fire which residents are aware of so that they can quickly and safely evacuate.
What must residents do to be fire safe?Residents should also take their own precautions to avoid starting a fire or having a fire spread to other areas of the building. They can help to manage fire safety by:
- Not keeping potential ignition sources and flammable items together.
- Making sure that personal electrical devices are in good working order and do not have exposed wires.
- Ensuring that items like heaters cannot be tipped over or are left near flammable items when in use.
- Not propping open fire safety doors within the building that are designed to keep a fire within a certain area for a limited period of time.
- Not allowing potentially flammable material to accumulate such as a build-up of rubbish.
- Following the fire safety procedures put in place by the building owner or manager and being aware of emergency procedures.