The history and importance of fire safety training in the UK

Fire safety training in the UK is very rigorous. It comes from a history of fire regulations, both successful and unsuccessful. This blog will talk you through the history of fire safety training, the current requirements we have, and its importance. 

History of Fire Safety Training 

The regulations we have today are all reactions to fires or incidents that have happened. And fire safety training is a product of the regulations. The very first fire prevention act was a reaction to the Great Fire of London. This actually was before the United Kingdom existed. At this point, there was the Kingdom of England. Kingdom of Scotland and Kingdom of Great Britain. From then to today, various acts have been passed to make fire safety more of a priority in the UK.

The following are notable fire safety legislations: 

Great Fire of London 1666 – The buildings in London were mostly made out of wood. So King Charles II passed an act stating that all buildings must be made of stone. And all roads must be widened from then on. 

London Cooking Fire Bylaw 1705 – An act prohibiting open fires in attics of thatched buildings. 

The Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1774 – This act regulated buildings, making sure their exteriors were as fireproof as possible. 

Factories Act 1937 – There was an original Factory Act in 1901. This act was an extension of that, making requirements for a way to escape from factories stronger. 

Fire Services Act 1947 – This act transferred fire safety responsibilities from the National Fire Service to the local authorities. 

Factories Act 1961 – In 1956, a fire in Eastwood Mills, Yorkshire, killed eight people. Because of this, the Factories Act was amended further. It now gave fire brigades the power to inspect factories for fire safety. Fire certificates were also introduced, which included provisions for fire safety. 

Licensing Act 1961 – In 1961, a fire broke out in a club in Bolton, killing 19 people. Due to this, the alcohol licensing laws were amended. 

Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963 – In 1960, a fire occurred in a department store in Liverpool. It resulted in ten people being trapped on the fourth floor. The purpose of the act was to ensure the safety of workers in offices, shops and railways. 

Fire Precautions Act 1971 – Previous to this, the acts passed did not apply to buildings built before their passing. This act required all new and existing buildings to be inspected and provided with a fire certificate before occupation. It came after a fire in a Hotel that caused 11 people to die. 

The last act that has been passed is the Regulatory Reform Order of 2005. It applied to all buildings and introduced the requirement of a fire risk assessment. It also made providing fire safety training to employees a legal requirement. This is the act that we are currently following today. 

fire safety training uk

Fire Safety Training Requirements 

The requirements set out by the Regulatory Reform Order are to ensure workplaces are fully prepared in the event of a fire. It states every workplace must have a ‘responsible person’ that is in control of fire safety. They also will be the ones to answer to the law in any case of failure. 

There is a section dedicated to fire safety training in the UK that states the following:

The responsible person must ensure employees receive training –

  1. When first employed
  2. When being exposed to new or increased risks because of –

i) change of responsibilities

ii) change of work equipment

iii) new technology

iv) change of a system of work

The training provided must – 

  1. Include sufficient instruction on appropriate cautions
  2. Be repeated periodically
  3. Be adapted to any changed risks
  4. Be appropriate to risks identified in the risk assessment
  5. Take place during work hours

So these are the legal requirements of fire safety training in the UK. However, there is much more than just these requirements that should be provided to ensure proper fire safety. Aspects such as understanding fire extinguishers and having an emergency plan are important. 

Importance of Fire Safety Training 

Besides being a legal requirement, fire safety training is essential for personal safety. In the year ending in June 2022, there were 275 fire-related fatalities. This is an increase from the previous years. Fires can cause not only death but permanent health ailments. During a fire, flames and smoke spread in a very fast manner. Both of these can cause irreversible damage.   

Fire safety training also saves businesses. There is an average loss of £657,074 per fire incident. Damage to property, equipment and documents could put a whole business to a halt. So ensuring everyone has proper fire safety training is in the best interest of any business owner. It is not only to train in what to do in the event of a fire but how to prevent one.

At 1st Attendance, we provide extensive fire safety training courses at your workplace. Use our cost calculator to get an instant quotation. To find out more get in touch with us today. 

Fire safety hazards in the workplace

Keeping your workplace safe can be as simple as ensuring that all of your workforce is aware of the fire safety hazards and potential pitfalls that can be caused by poor fire risk management. Here are some of the most common fire safety hazards that can be encountered at the average workplace, but it should be kept in mind that each work environment is different, and specific safety procedures should be followed depending on circumstances. 

  1. Waste

When paper or cardboard items are disposed of wrongly, or even ignored entirely, they might provide the ideal fuel for a fire to start. Storing these combustible products in a single location can be disastrous for any company. 

Ideally, you will want to keep good housekeeping throughout the workplace and ensure that cardboard and paper are disposed of correctly. Summer in particular can be a time of year when dry built up flammable materials are most likely to become a serious problem. 

A build-up of combustible waste materials can be fuel for fire. Remember to remove any potential fire hazards and dispose of them correctly. 

Fire safety hazards in the workplace
  1. Flammable liquids

Flammable liquids are some of the most common forms of potentially hazardous material that can be found at the workplace. Even smaller amounts of these substances can be dangerous, and the correct safety precautions should be taken. Cleaning fluids, engine oil, solvents, adhesives and chemicals can all potentially be found at workplaces and staff should be made aware of the potential issues they may pose. 

Keep any flammable liquids separate by putting them in a lockable ventilated cabinet to reduce danger. This keeps them out of the way of any potential fire hazard.

  1. Dust

It might not seem like an obvious one, but dust accumulated in warehouses or factories that work with wood, plastic and other materials can pose a fire safety hazard.

When materials are moved, handled, ground, and shaped, dust is produced. Abrasive blasting, cutting, crushing, mixing, sifting, and screening dry materials all produce dust. Dust can also be generated by the buildup of dry residue following the processing of moist materials. 

Dust, even in small quantities can create a fire that will spread, particularly if they in the kind of environment where dust build-up is particularly common (workshops, factories, studios etc) 

  1. Electronic equipment

Virtually every modern place of work is likely filled with electronic equipment, which all have the potential to be a serious risk. Even equipment as simple as a computer can overheat and therefore be a fire hazard. 

Electronic equipment can cause electric shock and burns from contact with live parts, arcing injury and even fire from faulty electrical equipment or installations. There is also an increased risk of explosions produced by faulty electrical apparatus or static electricity igniting combustible vapours or dust, such as in a spray paint booth.

Electrical equipment and machinery can overheat even at the best of times, so it’s a good idea to keep all your electrical equipment ideally in a cool environment and dust-free. As mentioned in a previous point, dust buildup can be extremely dangerous under the wrong conditions, and particularly within electronic systems like servers and computers where they can get overheated in a small tight space. 

  1. Overloading power sockets 

Modern workplaces today have literally dozens of appliances – all potential hazards if not used properly, are maintained and tested from time to time. The problems/accidents often arise when these – otherwise completely safe – appliances are linked together and overload a socket: and here lies the origin of many potential fires.

It is of the utmost importance to take precautions to prevent this from happening. Understanding what we can and cannot do and what is safe will go a long way in preventing accidents both at home and at the workplace. 

  1. Other combustible materials

There are a number of other materials that can be a serious hazard to your workplace. Basically, anything that generates heat or is in some way connected to a power source has the potential to be a safety risk.

For instance, consider if there is any petrol, paint thinners or heating fuels at your workplace. In warehouses, other materials such as packaging materials or food such as flour and sugar can also cause a fire hazard. It is essential to assess which materials could fuel a fire in the workplace and put in place safety measures to avoid any problems. 

  1. Human error

All of the issues listed above can ultimately be put down to human error. If people are active and aware of the issues that can be faced in a work environment when it comes to fire safety then most of these problems are entirely avoidable. 

Make sure all your staff are aware of any risks and know what to do in the event of a fire, conducting regular inspections, training and fire drills. 

Prevention of fire safety hazards in the workplace

At 1st Attendance, we are leaders in staff fire safety training. Our Fire Awareness Training Course has been designed to help you stay safe in the workplace so that you are aware of all the risks and know exactly what to do in the event of a fire. Get in touch with us to ask any questions or book a training session. 

Fire Safety Signage

If you run a business you may already know that you need fire safety signs. Naturally, you may already be aware of fire exit signs and have them installed. However, there is in fact a wide variety of different kinds of fire safety signs that may be required on your premises. 

What kind of fire safety signs do you think you need? There are a number of factors to keep in mind when considering what signs to use: 

  • The layout of your place of work
  • The nature of the signs and their use
  • What equipment do you have on-site and if you will need more or specialised equipment

You will often as a basic precaution have a fire action notice in your building. The objective of the Fire Action Notice is to ensure that everybody working in or visiting your facility understands what to do if a fire breaks out or if the building will have to be evacuated.  

Here are some other important signs to keep in mind when keeping your buildings safe. 

Fire exit signs

You may not require a fire escape sign if your business building is modest and has a simple layout. Fire exit signs are not required if the exit is ‘obvious,’ such as in a small store where the entrance and exit is extremely clear and there is not too much room for confusion.

However, with more complex buildings you will require fire exit signs. What you really want to know is how easy it will be for people to get out of the building in the case of a fire, especially if they are unfamiliar with the layout. 

In some situations, a succession of directional signs may be required to guide occupants of the offices. Fire exit signs should have directional arrows indicating which way to go in the event of a fire. 

Emergency exit or fire exit sign vector design isolated on white background

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Assembly point signs

These are generally signed with a green background and white arrows indicating that the area around the sign is the location of an assembly point in the case of a fire. These need to be placed at safe locations and far away from the building where your place of work is. Getting to the assembly point should be already known from fire drills and clear signage in and around the office. 

Fire equipment signs

It is essential in the event of a fire that you and your staff know where fire extinguishers and other pieces of equipment are being kept. There are specific types of signs designed for this purpose. Most fires are extinguished within the first two minutes of the fire starting, so it is imperative that you are your team are able to get to the fire as quickly as possible.  

High quality Standard fire safety sign collection

There are a number of different kinds of fire equipment signs that may refer to fire blankets, fire extinguishers and hose reels, among others. It is important to familiarise yourself with these different signs. 

Prohibition and anti-smoking signs

There are many signs that also prohibit the use of a specific item or substances on-premises, the most obvious example of this being smoking. You may be aware of no smoking signs and their distinct red band design. There are a number of others that include no naked flames and no water on fire. These are common in kitchens and should be paid close attention to.  

Public domain

Types of warning signs

Warning signs are generally yellow and triangle in shape. They are used to indicate that something dangerous or volatile is close by. These can be lighting signs to indicate electrical boxes, dangerous chemicals, or volatile compounds. It is highly dependent on the workplace but it is not uncommon to see. 

Triangle warning sign. Danger symbols safety emergency electrical hazard vector collection. Illustration yellow caution icon, social distancing and flammable

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Conclusion 

We hope you found this guide on all of the many types of fire signs helpful. In conclusion, if you are in charge of the fire safety of commercial buildings, it is important to keep all of these types of signs in mind and have an understanding of what your specific building needs. These are the key pieces of information you need to know:

  • All premises must get a Fire Action Notice.
  • Fire escape signs are required in all but the tiniest and most basic of buildings.
  • Extinguisher ID sign – because extinguishers are required, every business must have at least one extinguisher ID sign.
  • Call point signs for fire alarms – if you have a fire alarm, you must have call point signs. 

We at 1st Attendance provide a variety of courses including fire awareness training that can help you and your staff better understand the specifics of fire safety and what will be essential knowledge when safeguarding your building against fire risks. Click here to take a look at our practical and theoretical course on fire awareness.

How Often Should Fire Safety Training be refreshed?

The best way to protect against fire is to prevent them in the first place. As such, fire safety training for your team is essential to the well-being of your workplace and should be practised. It should be remembered that it is a legal requirement, however, most importantly it can save lives. But how often should fire training course be taken? 

Our guide explains what the course is about, why it is so important to the workplace and how often your staff should be refreshing their training.

Find out more about Fire Safety in the workplace

What is Fire Safety Training?

Fire Safety courses are held to educate on the risks and causes of fire as well as teaching how to best react and respond in the event of a fire and how to help extinguish the fire safely. The courses include a mix of both practical and theoretical learning and can be taught in various group sizes.

There are a range of different courses available including:

Why is Fire Safety Training so important?

Having staff trained in fire safety and fire awareness is a great asset to your business and the safety and well being of your staff and customers. Fires in the workplace can have a significant impact on businesses with companies potentially losing significant amounts of money, work and business as well as posing a risk of health problems, injury or even fatality to staff and customers. With trained staff and the correct knowledge, both the risk and consequences of a fire can be greatly minimised.

When should we do fire safety training?

It is crucial that all staff in the workplace have Fire Safety Training as part of each staff member’s induction.

We recommend this training is refreshed annually to ensure staff have refreshed awareness of fire safety and procedures.

As a general rule, you will want to practice fire safety every 12 months (in certain industries like hotels and care homes you will need to perform training at least twice a year due to the nature of the business).

Certain factors may also mean that you will need more training in specific areas of fire safety, or you may need more regular training for your staff depending on the circumstances. This is particularly important in workplaces where there is a high turnover of staff, high risk of fire or several guests/customers that the staff are responsible for. 

More regular training may be required for those with particular responsibilities in the event of fire such as department heads, fire marshals and those who look after vulnerable people such as carers. 

Regular training may be required in other instances, such as:

– If there have been regular fire safety-related accidents at a particular place of work or if the same accidents keep reoccurring. For example, if there are frequent smoke creation problems with appliances in the kitchen like people leaving toast in a toaster etc, then you may want to highlight this in your training. 

– Many members of staff may simply have not had the appropriate training for their place of work. Regular fire safety training exercises can help this. 

– If you have bought any new pieces of equipment or tools that may produce a fire then you will need to update your training with that. Ideally, once you have acquired the item then you should do a training session as soon as possible. 

– Internal business development such as a high turnover of staff or part-timers should also be taken into account when deciding how often and when you want to provide your fire safety training. 

– If there is a generally high risk of fire at your business then naturally more fire safety training sessions may be necessary. 

How often do day staff require training?

Your day staff should be having training as discussed above, at least once a year, and if your business fits into any of the criteria listed then you should consider booking more dependent on need. The idea is not necessarily the volume of sessions you have per year, but how well each member of staff understands the procedure and can correctly carry out an evacuation if necessary. In order to ascertain this, it may be necessary to carry out test alarms. 

How often do night staff require training? 

Another aspect of fire training to keep in mind is night fire training, which requires a specific time schedule to accurately simulate the experience of a fire at night. If you have staff that work night shifts then it should be a priority to make sure that they receive the appropriate training to their job description. 

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What will be included in fire training?

Often fire training can depend on your workplace and what kind of training you may specifically require. However, regardless of your business and what your other specific needs may be, you will need to train all members of staff in the basics. Overall training will be concentrated on 4 areas:

– Prevention

– What to do in the case of a fire

– Best practice and equipment maintenance

– Alarms. 

If you are a fire marshall or a designated member of the team who is responsible for the fire response then you will need to do additional training as can be found here

What will you learn at a Fire Safety Course with 1st Attendance?

Elements of the course can include (but are not limited to):

  • The chemistry and behaviours of fire
  • Fire classifications
  • The dangers of fire
  • Fire prevention
  • Alarm raising procedures
  • Fire evacuation procedures
  • Extinguisher classification
  • Extinguisher training
  • Fire Blanket training 
  • First Aid Fire Fighting

Fire Safety Training Course

Who are 1st Attendance?

1st Attendance is a fully accredited and highly experienced team that is here to help you make your business as fire-safe as possible. We do this through our variety of courses that includes fire marshal training, fire awareness training and fire extinguisher training, to name but a few. We tailor our sessions to you and your business and are fully accredited. If you want to get in touch with us to book a session or you would like some free advice, you can find our contact information here

How Often Should Fire Safety Training be refreshed

Commonly Ignored Fire Hazards in the Workplace

Fire safety should be a priority in any workplace. Fire poses very real and life-threatening risks to a business. Not only can it damage and destroy buildings, but fire can also cause injury or death to employees. Therefore it’s vital to regularly control and monitor fire hazards in the workplace.

1st Attendance Ltd provides expert staff fire safety training across the UK. Our services range from construction site fire safety training, to fire warden training all taught by qualified, fire safety experts. From experience, here are some of the most important, yet commonly ignored fire hazards in the workplace.

What is a Fire Hazard?

A fire hazard is anything that increases the possibility of a fire occurring. Many things within the workplace can be a fire hazard if used improperly. The number of fire hazards can be used to calculate your all-encompassing fire risk. Fire risk is the likelihood of a fire outbreak, depending on the fire safety measures in place and any hazards within the workplace. 

fire-hazards-in-the-workplace

To calculate your fire risk, you would need to conduct a fire risk assessment. During your assessment, you should ask yourself questions based upon the fire hazards in your workplace. For example, “Are fire alarms checked regularly?” or “How often are staff re-trained?”. Most importantly, be honest. Don’t report yourself as satisfactory if you only check the fire alarms once every year.

Certain hazards pose more of a risk than others when taking into account your building and staff’s knowledge. If your business stores flammable liquid in a room with two fire doors, it is less of a risk than it being stored in a room with other electricals and no fire doors. You can decrease the risk of fire by controlling the hazards around your workplace. Monitor your workplace for fire hazards regularly and try to isolate hazards.

A safe environment is a fundamental necessity for any workplace. Most, if not all, workplaces will have fire hazards that need to be regularly monitored. Some examples of fire hazards in the workplace are as follows.

Fire Hazards in the Workplace

  • Dust 
    • Dust is commonly left to pile up from plastic, wood and metalwork in some workplaces. These specks of material are an example of an extremely dangerous fire hazard. If a fire were to start in a room with little ventilation, these dust particles can cause explosions. To decrease this risk, factories should install extractor fans to keep the air free from dust.
  • Extension Leads & Faulty Equipment 
    • Sadly, hundreds of workplace fires still happen because of faulty electrical equipment, or just plain misuse. Extension leads can often be misleading, offering 5 more sockets than your wall does. This invites the user to input a lot more current than the socket can handle. An electrical surge will spark that could cause a devastating fire. If you’re looking to decrease this risk, ensure that all high power electronics are plugged into their socket. Furthermore, always monitor your electrical equipment to ensure it’s safe.
fire-hazards-at-workplace
  • Smoking
    • Cigarette smokers at work can be a huge fire hazard if they aren’t provided with a controlled area to smoke. Workplaces should offer a contained smoking area, away from any flammable materials and buildings. These smoking areas should also contain bins and ashtrays to extinguish the cigarette, decreasing the risk of fire.
  • Flammable Liquids & Solvents 
    • Many workplaces use flammable liquids, while they do pose a rather large fire risk, you can decrease the severity of the hazard. You should always isolate flammable materials because they ignite so quickly. It’s also in your best interest to ensure all bottles are properly sealed and stored away upright. If any spills were to happen, they should be cleaned up immediately.
  • Untrained Staff
    • One of the largest ignored fire hazards in the workplace is staff ignorance. Fire safety should be a priority in any workplace, and all employees should have a basic knowledge of fire safety. Offering your staff fire safety training hugely decreases the risk of fire in the workplace.

Employee Fire Safety Training 

The importance of staff fire awareness can’t be emphasised enough. First Attendance Ltd offers excellent staff fire safety training at your workplace, to save you time and energy. All of our courses are taught by qualified, experienced instructors that can tailor our courses to your unique needs. 
Furthermore, we have continued to supply our second-to-none fire safety training throughout the lockdown via live webinars. We are a well-established and fully accredited firm that specialises in workplace fire safety. Our courses are also IFSM Accredited (The Institute of Fire Safety Managers), meaning it is a recognised course. Join our 4000 satisfied customers, get in touch with us today.

The Complete Workplace Fire Drill Checklist

Fire drills are infamously completed to poor standards at many workplaces. Practising fire drills and safety at work can be the difference between life and death at times. It is integral for all employees to understand their responsibilities during a fire drill, so we’ve created this easy to follow checklist. 

Especially now, as the world continues to battle Covid-19, workplace regulations are always changing. Ensuring the safety of your employees and customers can be as easy as offering the right information to your staff and keeping up to date with your risk assessments. 

workplace-fire-drill-alarm

Before a Workplace Fire Drill

Before you conduct any fire drill you must have taken the correct precautions beforehand, such as staff fire training and clear signage. You want to achieve a quick and efficient evacuation and as the saying goes – if you fail to prepare, you should prepare to fail. A fire drill should be carried out at least once a year, preferably twice or as detailed in your Fire Risk Assessment. Your workplace should always be prepared in case of a real emergency. 

When should you do a Fire Drill?

Employee involvement in annual fire drills is a legal requirement, so ensure that all staff are notified and aware of the date and time of your fire drill. Ideally, employees will have a week notice to revise the procedure. You should also inform them of the fire drill meet point, and ask them to familiarise themselves with the route.

Fire Wardens

Depending on the size of the building, you might require multiple fire wardens. Remind yourself of your fire wardens and inform them of the fire drill. Fire wardens will be able to give valuable insight and feedback after the fire drill is complete. Furthermore, they should be keeping their training up to date in case of a fire emergency at any time. 

Keep a Register 

Before conducting a workplace fire drill, you want to print off an up to date register of all the employees and visitors in the building that you plan to evacuate. Though you can also keep a register digitally, it’s recommended that you use a physical copy. This is because in a real emergency technology can sometimes be incorrect or glitch, whereas a physical copy can be checked for accuracy. 

Test the alarms

If you are using fire alarms to conduct your fire drill, make sure that none appear faulty before the drill begins. While you’ll be able to find broken alarms during the drill, ensuring that all appear to be working will make for a more efficient workplace fire drill.

Staff fire training

Consider whether you think your staff are ready to carry out a full fire drill. Have you recently employed any new staff? When was the last time they attended a fire safety course? A fire drill is a waste of time if your employees don’t know how to carry one out efficiently. Before conducting a workplace fire drill, it’s recommended that all your staff have attended a fire safety course recently

During a Workplace Fire Drill

When your fire drill begins make sure that you are constantly observing your employees, as well as exits, signage and accessibility issues. 

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Observation

A workplace fire drill is important because it allows you the ability to find any problems in your procedure without the danger of a real fire. Hence, your fire wardens should dedicate their time to observing the method and process, as well as timing the fire drill. You should also ensure that you’re taking care of any disabled people during the workplace fire drill so that they can evacuate the building safely and quickly. 

Fire escapes

Use the closest fire escape to you when the fire alarm is sounded. All fire doors should have clear signage and ideally, all the doors will be used equally. During the fire drill, encourage employees to use the closest fire escape, regardless of where they are at the time of the fire drill, ask visitors to do the same. 

Take a register

After the building has been fully evacuated and all employees are safely at the agreed meet point take a register. Call out the register as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure that nobody has been left in the building. In larger offices, it might be easier to have managers take smaller registers of their section than one single register. 

Follow the procedure 

Most importantly, follow your procedure exactly as you have planned. This way you will be able to observe any problems in your risk assessment. 

After a Workplace Fire Drill

After the staff has been counted and the building is ready to re-enter it’s time to start evaluating the success or failure of the fire drill. Once you’ve collated your observations you will be able to make amendments to your fire drill procedure or decide whether your staff require fire safety training. 

Record your observations 

First and foremost, ask your fire wardens all to record their observations as well as your own. These can be targets for the next workplace fire drill. Or if all fire wardens have noticed a similar issue then you can begin to rectify your workplace fire drill procedure.

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Review

In a meeting with your fire wardens, ask them to elaborate on any of their observations or if they noticed a recurring problem. This way, others can discuss whether they saw a similar problem. 

Solve the problems

After you’ve completed your workplace fire drill it’s time to use your observations to improve your fire drill procedure. You need to analyse what the source of the issues was. For example, if it took staff members on the second floor five minutes longer to evacuate, consider whether the staff have received enough training, or whether the fire doors are being used equally. Or, if a disabled employee found that they couldn’t access their closest fire door, consider adding more accessibility measures to your building. 

In other cases, your staff might require staff fire training to update their knowledge on fire hazards and fire drills in the workplace. Fire is one of the biggest risks that people face in the workplace. Therefore, it’s vital that all employees are aware of fire safety measures to keep each other safe. 

At 1st Attendance Ltd, we offer engaging and informative staff fire training to keep your workplace safe. Our courses are proven to be informative and effective in workplaces and employees love getting to extinguish a real fire. Get in touch for more information on our fire safety courses, as well as any other queries you may have.

How to use a fire extinguisher

Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is vital in case of an emergency. Fire extinguishers are widely available firefighting tools, commonly found in public places and workplaces to combat fires. 

 

In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of using a fire extinguisher properly, including when to use one and who should operate it.

 

When to Use a Fire Extinguisher

 

Before using a fire extinguisher to combat a fire, ensure that a fire alarm has been activated, and an evacuation plan with a safe route is in place. Fire extinguishers are most effective when dealing with small fires in their early stages. However, it’s crucial to assess whether you can extinguish the fire safely without putting yourself or others at risk.

 

Who Should Use a Fire Extinguisher?

 

Only individuals who have received proper training should use a fire extinguisher. Workplace fire safety training courses are essential, ensuring that at least one person in each workplace is trained in its use. Untrained individuals should never attempt to operate a fire extinguisher.

 

1st Attendance offers a range of Fire Safety Training Courses to teach correct usage.

 

Using the Right Type of Fire Extinguisher

 

Selecting the appropriate type of fire extinguisher is paramount. Different extinguishers are designed for various classes of fires, and using the wrong type can worsen the situation. For example, using a water extinguisher on an electrical fire can lead to electrocution due to water conducting electricity. Refer to our guide on fire extinguisher types for more information.

 

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

 

Once you’ve confirmed that you have the right fire extinguisher and it’s safe to proceed, follow these steps. Remember, only trained individuals should use fire extinguishers:

The PASS Method

 

PULL – Stand a safe distance from the fire and pull the pin to break the seal.

 

AIM – Point the nozzle towards the base of the fire, aiming low. (If using a CO2 extinguisher, avoid touching the nozzle as it becomes cold and may cause skin damage.)

 

SQUEEZE – Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.

 

SWEEP – Sweep the extinguisher sideways back and forth at the base of the fire until it’s empty or the fire is completely extinguished with no risk of reignition.

 

How to use a fire extinguisher infographic

What To Do If the Fire Persists

If the fire persists even after using an extinguisher, it’s time to evacuate the area and let emergency services handle it. Evacuate using your predetermined route, ensuring all doors are closed to prevent the fire from spreading further.

In summary, understanding how to use a fire extinguisher properly can be a lifesaving skill in an emergency. Ensure that you are trained, choose the right extinguisher for the type of fire, and follow the PASS method for safe and effective fire suppression. In case the fire isn’t extinguished, prioritise your safety and evacuate while closing doors behind you.

How to Use a Fire Blanket

How to Use a Fire Blanket

Fire blankets are an essential piece of equipment everyone should own in an emergency. But how do you use a fire blanket? And how do fire blankets work? 

Lucky for you, we have put together a short video at 1st Attendance on how to use a fire blanket. It perfectly instructs you how to safely and effectively operate one in an emergency. You can find the video below.

What is a Fire blanket?

A fire blanket is a woven piece of fabric, usually constructed from a sheet of fire-resistant material. They are incredibly durable, can withstand temperatures of over 900 degrees celsius, and take a significant amount of wear and tear. They are a reasonably simple design; however, they are one of the most effective deterrents against small fires, particularly in the kitchen.

While it depends on the manufacturer, they are usually designed with a silicone-based fire retardant or a fibre-glass weave. This material can withstand the heat while being light enough to be used by virtually anybody.

Who should own a Fire Blanket?

The answer is everyone! Using a fire blanket could save lives and stop a full force fire from breaking out. They are critical in areas that might catch fire easily, like storage spaces with flammable containers or in kitchens where cooking oil and pans could cause a fire. Every work sector should have them. Especially those with kitchens, such as offices and shops.

How to maintain a Fire Blanket

A part of knowing how to use a fire blanket is knowing how to maintain it. To do so, follow these general guidelines:

Regular inspections: You should regularly inspect your blanket to ensure it is in a good and usable condition. Check for tears, holes, fraying or any other signs of deterioration.

Cleanliness: Make sure to keep your fire blanket clean and free from any dirt, oil or other substances that will impair its effectiveness. If the blanket does become soiled, follow the manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning.

Folding: After use, the blanket should be properly folded. This is to prevent damage and ensure easy deployment in the future. Different fire blankets have different folding methods. So you should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Replacement: If a blanket becomes damaged or worn out it should be replaced immediately. As a general rule, they should be replaced every five years regardless.

Storage

When you purchase a fire blanket and get home, ensure you put it in the correct place and fit it to a solid surface. You shouldn’t put it too close to the risk area and don’t want it too close to your cooker/oven. Make sure it is in an accessible location.

What is a fire blanket used for? - Correct use

We understand what it is, but do we know the purpose of a fire blanket?

Fire blankets can extinguish small fires (our definition would be around the size of an office bin). They are mainly used for small class F fires in the kitchen. Typically these are caused by cooking grease and oils that should under no circumstance be covered in water as this can increase the intensity and danger of the fire. And can help to put out a fire before it gets too big or out of control. Instead, a fire blanket is ideal for quenching that particular flame.

Make sure you immediately turn off the gas or electricity supply and call the emergency services in the event of a larger fire.

In addition, fires caused by clothes or small house fires can be stopped by a fire blanket suffocating the air around them. A fire blanket is also potentially strong enough to carry an individual and, as such, can be used for this purpose if the situation needs it. If any of these fires get out of control, you must immediately call the fire emergency services.

How Does a Fire Blanket Work?

You may be wondering, what element of the fire triangle does a fire blanket remove? The answer is oxygen. As oxygen is a key element of fire, a fire blanket works by smothering the fire and cutting off the oxygen. Look at the video below to see how a fire blanket puts out a fire.

How to Use a Fire Blanket

Step 1. 

You’ll generally find tabs at the top or bottom of the box. To release the blanket in an emergency, give those tabs a pull. 

Step 2. 

Before attempting to tackle the fire, try turning off the gas or electricity because that will reduce the fire element within the fire triangle. Ensure that it is safe to do so first.

Step 3. 

When you use a fire blanket, you need to make sure you protect yourself. The easiest way to protect yourself is to hold the tabs so they face you, the backs of your hands against the blanket and then fold it in. That’s going to protect you from the radiated heat as you attempt to approach the fire. 

Don’t hold the blanket too high where you can’t see where the risk is or too low that you’re going to trip over. You want to put your arms out straight. Move your weight onto your back foot, move nice and slowly towards the fire and then place it physically over the top. Don’t attempt to throw the blanket on in case you miss. When you get to this stage, and you’re close, don’t pull away because the flames may stick to the blanket, which could spread the fire. It has to be just a rapid, swift motion, one step at a time, straight over the top. 

Step 4. 

Leave the blanket for around 30 minutes or so. Please don’t take it off too quickly as, by reintroducing oxygen, there is a chance of re-ignition. Leave the actual pan in situ for at least an hour.

Step 5. 

If there is any doubt that it is still not a safe environment, please pick up the phone, phone the fire service brigade, evacuate the area and get them there as quickly as possible.  

Recap:

1. Release the blanket by pulling quickly on the two tabs

2. Turn off the heat source

3. Protect yourself – move slowly, keeping your weight on your back foot and hold the blanket in front to protect yourself

4. Tackle the fire by placing the blanket on top in a quick, swift motion

5. Leave the blanket for 30 minutes before removing

6. Call the fire brigade – if there are any problems or doubts. And that is how you use a fire blanket.
How to use a fire Blanket Infographic
If you work in an office, it is essential to know precisely where it is kept, and you should also inform your employees. You should provide a training session to all employees on how to use a fire blanket, and we hope the above video will help you do so.

At 1st Attendance, we are available to come to your work place and carry out the demonstration as well as other training. Use our cost calculator to get an instant quote today.