Management failings increase death rates during major fires

Published:  18 November, 2014

Management failings – not badly designed buildings or lack of equipment – are the main reason people die in major fires.

Nick Coombe, Fire Safety Regulation Management, London Fire Brigade commented: ‘It is recognised that the quality of fire risk management can play a greater role in managing fire risks than fire protection measures.’

Paul Stock of SGS, a specialist in auditing whether companies meet a wide range of quality standards, added: ‘In terms of fire risk, businesses and organisations concentrate too much on the physical buildings and not enough on the way they manage the people.’

In order to raise standards and help save lives, a new fire risk management system – specification (PAS 7) has been developed in conjunction with leading figures in the fire industry such as technical experts, the CFOA and chaired by the technical author, Ben Bradford MD of BB7 for use as a formal fire risk management system for organisations and individual sites. SGS United Kingdom Ltd offers audits, certification and training for PAS 7.

‘PAS 7 has been designed to help demonstrate that an organisation is taking responsibility for managing fire risks and complying with the law,’ added Mr Coombe. ‘It also provides assurance to Fire and Rescue Authorities in undertaking an audit under the Regulatory (Fire Safety) Order 2005.’

Obviously all commercial premises are required to meet standard fire safety regulations, but the new PAS 7 Fire Management System will deliver a completely new level of best practice throughout the whole company or organisation, says Mr Stock.

‘Undertaking the process of achieving PAS 7 certification helps organisations understand the true fire risks and how best to manage them. It ensures they spend their allocated budget in a way that truly makes their people and their premises safer.’

To help those who want to learn more, the SGS Academy runs a PAS 7 Introduction and Awareness course which are available as both public and in-company courses.

 ‘The course is useful as an introduction for anyone involved in the development, implementation and management of an organisation fire risk management system,’ explained Mr Stock. ‘Delegates are not expected to have prior knowledge of auditing or PAS 7 before attending this course’

By the end of the course, delegates will be able to:

  • outline the key pressures on organisations to adopt a fire risk management system
  • explain the purpose of a fire risk management system
  • outline key concepts and approaches to fire risk management
  • describe, with reference to Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle, the structure, scope and purpose of PAS 7
  • outline key definitions and terminology used in fire risk management and
  • outline the key requirements of PAS 7.

Mr Coombe added: ‘London Fire Brigade welcomes any system that will help reduce the risk to people in their workplaces and homes. The new specification aims to help businesses to manage risks in a formal way and is one way to demonstrate to enforcers that fire risk is being robustly managed.’

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