Fire Protection Association
Moreton in Marsh
01608 812 500, email@example.com
Association For Specialist Fire Protection
Ganders Business Park,
Hampshire, GU35 9LU
The Fire Service College,
London Road, Moreton in Marsh,
Gloucestershire GL56 0RH
0844 335 0897, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kingsway Business Park,
Oldfield Road Hampton,
Middlesex, TW12 2HD
0203 166 5002, email@example.com
UK Fire Protection
The discovery of fire marked a seminal moment in the evolution of human beings yet it also unleashed a powerful force that we have struggled to control ever since. Over the centuries we have been reactive, fighting fires when they happened, but fire prevention activity didn’t really come into it’s own until the 20th century.
The first small step came from William the Conqueror who decreed that all fire-lights and flames must be extinguished at night. The word ‘curfew’ comes from this time (couvre feu being a cover put over the fire to extinguish it.)
It took the Great Fire of London in 1666 for the first building regulations to be introduced in an effort to prevent a future disaster and, while many cities introduced their own regional fire regulations after the advent of the Industrial Revolution, there was still no national code.
Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin oversaw the passing of The Public Health Act in 1936. It introduced a new concept in building legislation and a single building control model emerged which referred to ‘British Standards’ to indicate compliance. A leap forward but, as these standards were not mandatory, there were still many variations nationwide.
In 1946 The Fire Protection Association was founded. It was the UK’s first National Fire Safety Organisation and it works to this day to identify and draw attention to the dangers of fire and how their potential for occurrence and loss can be kept to a minimum. Based in Gloucestershire (address below,) it is recognized as an independent and authoritative source of fire safety information which also offers education, training, a fire risk assessment service, a nationwide risk management survey service for insurers, a membership journal (Fire Risk Management,) all underpinned by proactive research consultation conducted on behalf of insurers and commercial clients.
The UK developed more rules to deal with the containment and prevention of fire including the Fire Precautions Act of 1971 which concentrated on enforcing minimum safety provisions for businesses. As a result, a new body called the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) was formed in 1975 to increase awareness for contractors in how to comply to the building regulations and to increase awareness of the benefits of fire prevention systems.
In England & Wales, the powers to make building regulations were consolidated and re-enacted in 1984. All Building Regulations made by the ‘Secretary of State’ since then, have included minimum fire safety measures (for both physical fire resistance and safe means of escape) for all new, extended or altered buildings. Also in 1984, BAFE (British Approvals for Fire Equipment) was founded to develop 3rd party certification schemes. BAFE works with all interested parties and businesses with UKAS accredited Certification Bodies to assess and approve companies to these standards. There are now well over 1000 organisations located throughout the UK, registered to BAFE schemes.
In 2000, the Government set up a review of the fire safety legislation and found that there were some 80 Acts of Parliament which specified fire safety legislation. In order to bring it up to date, they decided to take all aspects of fire legislation and place it under the umbrella of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RR(FS)O,) which became law in October 2006 – it applies to England and Wales only (although Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own similar legislation). The major change in the legislation was that it brought in the concept of risk assessment rather than prescriptive codes which in practical terms meant the Fire Certificate was no longer required. The Fire Safety Order lays out the foundation of the fire risk assessment by saying that the “responsible person take into account for the safety of their employees and anyone else who may lawfully on or near their premises”.
In 2007 the Fire Industry Association (FIA) was formed as a result of a merger between two older trade associations (FETA, the Fire Extinguishing Trade Association and BFPSA the British Fire Protection Systems Association) to promote the professional standards of the fire industry through close liaison and lobbying with Government and official bodies as well other key organisations in the industry with the aim to inform their members and the general market about the latest legislation and how it can affect their business. The FIA provide technical knowledge and advice on fire safety and also provide training courses on all the latest technical and legislative topics to affect those working with fire safety.
The cost of fire damage now stands at a record level according to research published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). In the first half of 2009 ( the most recent date for figures) insurers paid out £639 million – £3.6 million every day – for damage caused by fires. This is the highest half yearly figure ever with fire claim costs rising every year. With fire services across the UK reporting that from April 1st 2014 they will not respond to automatic fire alarms unless accompanied by a 999 call, the correct fire prevention systems for your business are more important than ever. Having the best and most up-to-date guidance can be crucial and this is where the companies listed above can help.