FIG UK meeting on 13.9.2023 Cancelled

Published: 13 September 2023

Very sorry, the FIG UK meeting SCHEDULED FOR TODAY 13.9.23 IS CANCELLED.

I HAVE AN INJURED BACK and just not able to organise it…

If you have any news or write-ups that you wish to share please send them to me please URGENTLY and I will include in this month’s newsletter.

All good wishes – KEEP SAFE.

01909 771024

Fifty Years of the Institute of Occupational Medicine

Published: 25 January 2023

In 2019, The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) celebrated fifty years of endeavour to understand and prevent occupational and environment in health with the publication of a book entitled Science with Purpose: 50 years of the Institute of Occupational Medicine. In this book, the authors, all of whom have been intimately associated with the institute, trace its history from foundation by the National Coal Board in 1969, through achieving independence in 1990 to its present role as a unique, independent, self-funding occupational and environmental health charity.

Over those fifty year there have been many achievements of international significance, and the authors describe these in individual chapters according to the different scientific specialities of the Institute’s scientists.

The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) is an organisation with a great history and unlimited potential for the future. This history of IOM provides a set of personal perspectives about the people, science and the major events that have shaped the organisation over the last 50 years.

This is a story of adaptation and imaginative evolution in the face of changing times for research and services in occupational health. It tells of a change in emphasis from coal dust to nanoparticles, from predominantly preventive medical research to mainly provision of consultative, training and measurement services, from doing it all alone to international and national collaborations, and from a UK emphasis to an international presence, especially across Europe and in Singapore.

In writing this book, the authors, all of whom have served in senior positions in IOM, have drawn heavily on their recollections as well as those of some current and former colleagues.

This book has been written in celebration of IOM’s 50th anniversary; it is intended to preserve and highlight the exceptional work of those that have passed through the Institute’s doors.

Do get hold of a copy of the book

Science with Purpose: 50 years of the Institute of Occupational Medicine

FIG UK Member Ian Abley is hosting a webinar entitled ‘Class 0 Conundrum’

Published: 7 April 2022

13 April 2022, 10.30 am - 11.30 am

This webinar will try to explain Class 0 using evidence from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to date.


NFPA Codes and Standards under Attack

Published: 25 August 2020

Message from Jim Pauley, President and CEO, National Fire Protection Association

The USA NFPA’s codes and standards are the result of a well-functioning system that has delivered fire, electrical, and life safety to the public for nearly 125 years. Serving as the longest-standing, most successful partnership between the public and private sectors, this system has fueled our economy, saved government immeasurable resources, and benefitted society in countless ways. And it is now under attack.

NFPA and other codes and standards developers are facing legal challenges driven by those who make the simplistic, erroneous claim that codes and standards should be free. This movement argues that if any governmental body, anywhere, decides to incorporate a standard by reference, then the entire copyright to every portion of that standard is automatically forfeited. In the wake of this campaign, we increasingly see people flooding the market with counterfeit versions of our standards, riddled with inaccuracies and peddled for profit without regard to the harm they cause to public safety.

Those behind the “standards must be free” campaign unjustly condemn copyright protection for our works and shrug off the consequences of tearing down our rights. They blithely say that SDOs can just find other ways to recoup the massive costs of creating our standards. The folks behind this mindset don’t have an interest in the system. Nor do they comprehend the huge undertaking required to produce high quality standards year after year, which reflect the latest research, technologies, and learnings from tragedies. Furthermore, they fail to offer any alternative solution for how the end-product would be developed and delivered, or by whom the cost for that development and delivery would be absorbed; it is willfully naïve thinking at best.

Full article:

Approved Document B (ADB)

Published: 25 August 2020

The Government has announced the implementation date for a number of changes to Approved Document B (ADB), including the requirement for automatic fire sprinklers in all flats above 11 metres, these changes will be required as from 26 November 2020.

The change requiring automatic fire sprinklers in all new built flats over 11 metres will significantly increase the use of domestic and residential sprinklers in this sector which has already seen a large increase since the disastrous Grenfell Tower fire.

This marks a major success for BAFSA, NFSN, BSA, EFSN, NFCC and all partners who have campaigned for so long for changes to ADB.

Full details of the changes:

Fire Safety Bill 2020

Published: 25 August 2020

At the end of April 2020, the second reading of the Fire Safety Bill was held in the House of Commons.

The Bill is a direct result of the disastrous Grenfell Tower fire and the discussions regarding the responsibility for fire safety that followed. The Bill amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005 and will result in greater clarity over responsibility for fire safety in buildings containing more than one home.

The key points of the Bill are:

It is anticipated that the Legislation will require a substantial increase in resources for Fire and Rescue Services

The Bill is broadly welcomed; however, a number of MPs do not feel it goes far enough to prevent another incident such as Grenfell or Lakanal House recurring.

The Draft bill was published on 20 July 2020:

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s also published a full explanation:

Thereafter with any amendments it will make its way through the House of Lords with an anticipated date of becoming legislation in November 2020.

National Audit Office report: Investigation into remediating dangerous cladding on high-rise buildings

Published: 25 August 2020

This investigation published on 19 June 2020 sets out how Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is overseeing the remediation of dangerous cladding under its Building Safety Programme.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (the Department) established the Building Safety Programme (the Programme) “to ensure that residents of high-rise residential buildings are safe, and feel safe from the risk of fire, now and in the future.”

In May 2018, the Department announced £400 million to fund remediation for high-rise residential buildings with unsafe ACM in the social housing sector. In May 2019 it announced that around a further £200 million would be made available for the remediation of equivalent buildings in the private sector. These funds do not cover all buildings that fall within the Programme.

This investigation examines how the Department:

Publication details:

New Books: Perhaps time to catch up on reading?

Published: 25 August 2020

Risk Analysis in Building Fire Safety Engineering

This book bridges the gap between risk assessment and fire safety engineering like few other resources.

As all required knowledge for Probability and Statistics for Fire Engineering is included in the preliminary chapters, the book is suitable for teaching Fire Engineering components in a wide range of engineering courses for senior graduates and for postgraduate students of Fire Engineering. It will also serve as a comprehensive reference for professionals.

This book describes the theory and the models involved in risk analysis, and includes case studies of multiple fire scenarios. Building fire safety and human behavioural responses to these scenarios show the benefits of risk-based fire safety design.

Hasofer, A.; Beck, V. R.; Bennetts, I. D.; Routledge, 30 June 2020, 202 pages

RIBA Health and Safety Guide

To ensure chartered architects are reaching a higher standard of knowledge in health and safety and the life safety of building users, the RIBA is introducing a requirement for all members to demonstrate their competence by taking an online test based on a comprehensive curriculum.

This guide is designed to improve standards and help architects prepare for the RIBA health and safety test launched in 2020. It provides practitioners with the guidance they require regarding site safety and design risk management to discharge their professional services and legal duties competently and safely.

RIBA – Royal Institute of British Architects; Routledge and RIBA Publishing, 1 October 2020, 160 pages

Fire Protection: Systems and Response

The modern definition of firefighter no longer means “putting the wet stuff on the red stuff.” Emergency responders answer incidents ranging from fire alarm activations to elevator rescues and medical emergencies more often than full-blown fires. Consequently, responders increasingly interface with a wide array of building systems. Underscoring the changing role of firefighters, Fire Protection: Systems and Response presents the basic knowledge of the inner workings of fire safety/fire protection systems and related equipment in buildings.

The author provides a straightforward overview of the functions and benefits of these systems and how they can assist with fire suppression, code enforcement, alarm response, and elevator rescue. The book’s comprehensive discussion of elevators, fire command centres, emergency generators and lighting, and HVAC systems sets it apart from other fire protection books currently available. The topics covered prepare emergency response personnel for the challenges they face working with fire protection systems, fire alarm systems, and elevators.

Logically organized, clearly written, and covering all systems in a single text, this presentation of information streamlines fire service interaction with building features and fire protection systems. Providing an understanding of how systems are designed and installed, the book is also a reference for troubleshooting fire protection problems in the field. The information not only gives responders knowledge of how the systems work, but helps them use this knowledge to perform their job better.

Burke, Robert; CRC Press, 30 June 2020, 312 pages

Quantitative Risk Assessment in Fire Safety

Fire safety regulations in many countries require Fire Risk Assessment to be carried out for buildings such as workplaces and houses in multiple occupation. This duty is imposed on a “Responsible Person” and also on any other persons having control of buildings in compliance with the requirements specified in the regulations.

Although regulations only require a qualitative assessment of fire risk, a quantitative assessment is an essential first step for performing cost-benefit analysis of alternative fire strategies to comply with the regulations and selecting the most cost-effective strategy. To facilitate this assessment, various qualitative, semi-quantitative and quantitative techniques of fire risk assessment, already developed, are critically reviewed in this book and some improvements are suggested.

This book is intended to be an expanded version of Part 7: Probabilistic risk assessment, 2003, a Published Document (PD) to British Standard BS 7974: 2001 on the Application of Fire Safety Engineering Principles to the Design of Buildings. Ganapathy Ramachandran and David Charters were co-authors of PD 7974 Part 7.

Quantitative Risk Assessment in Fire Safety is essential reading for consultants, academics, fire safety engineers, fire officers, building control officers and students in fire safety engineering. It also provides useful tools for fire protection economists and risk management professionals, including those involved in fire insurance underwriting.

Ramachandran, Ganapathy; Charters, David; Routledge, 30 June 2020, 374 pages

Engineering Mathematics with Applications to Fire Engineering

This book addresses direct application of mathematics to fire engineering problems. Gives background interpretation for included mathematical methods. Illustrates a step-by-step detailed solution to solving relevant problems. Includes pictorial representation of the problems. Discusses a comprehensive topic list in the realm of engineering mathematics topics including basic concepts of Algebra, Trigonometry and Statistics.

Khan, Khalid; Graham, Tony Lee; CRC Press, 29 June 2020, 366 pages

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Latest information and advice

Published: 23 February 2020

Coronaviruses are mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions. They have also been detected in blood, faeces and urine and, under certain circumstances, airborne transmission is thought to have occurred from aerosolised respiratory secretions and faecal material.

As coronaviruses have a lipid envelope, a wide range of disinfectants are effective. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and good infection prevention and control precautions are effective at minimising risk but can never eliminate it.

As COVID-19 has only been recently identified, there is currently limited information about the precise routes of transmission. Therefore, this guidance is based on knowledge gained from experience in responding to coronaviruses with significant epidemic potential such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV).

COVID-19 is classified as an airborne high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK.

More information:

Brexit – Transition period: Message from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Published: 23 February 2020

The UK has now left the EU. The transition period is in place while the EU and UK negotiate new arrangements for a trade deal. It will end on 31 December 2020.

Your responsibility to protect the health and safety of people affected by your work activities remain the same during the transition period.

The guidance health and safety made simple: the basics for your business, will help you to comply with the law.

You should continue to manage risk in your business in a proportionate way.

More information:

Event: Alternative Assessment and Substitution of Dangerous Substances at Workplaces

Published: 23 February 2020

21-23 April 2020, Helsinki Congress Paasitorni, Finland

Substitution of many dangerous substances can be easier when you know the basic concepts of alternative assessment and substitution. This course introduces these principles and the available tools to support the substitution of hazardous substances at workplaces.

Main topics:

The course covers the following topics:

More information:

Event: CompeTank: EEMUA TankAssessor course

Published: 23 February 2020

20-24 April 2020, near Macclesfield, UK

4½ day training course delivered in English, to enable participants to:

More information:

Event: Forthcoming FABIG Technical Meetings in Australia and the UK to be held in the first half of 2020

Published: 23 February 2020

Following are the dates & topics of the forthcoming FABIG Technical Meetings to be held in Australia and the UK in March and June 2020:

They are still looking for additional presentations for the forthcoming UK Technical Meetings, so please contact if you or one of your colleagues would like to present at these events.

The above Technical Meetings are already listed in the Events section of the FABIG website, and their respective programmes will be made available as soon as possible.

Event: African occupational health and safety technologies conference

Published: 23 February 2020

20-22 May 2020, Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa

This highly developed conference will be hosted by Bussynet Advanced Trading. The program is fully packed with highly qualified and experienced speakers. The gathering aims to educate, inform and motivate all attendees. The event offers participants unmatched expertise, superior connections, deep analysis and fresh perspectives on Occupational Health and Safety.

This year’s conference will dive deeper into the benefits of using technological applications in keeping workers safe, especially in heavy industrial complexes and mining environments where safety practices are literally the difference between life and death.

Besides, with the climate threat now apparent for all – with the fires destroying whole forests in North and South America as well as Australia – they will explore what corporations can do to help keep their surrounding environments safe for the whole ecosystem. Sustainable growth by corporations is becoming more urgent by the day, as corporate are required to live in harmony with their surrounding nature.

Among other topics, this year, they will focus on the following:

They will also discuss industries most vulnerable to OHS risk, and how they can high standards for health and safety in their respective fields; the conference offers an opportunity to discuss key developments, skills and training and lessons learned – all of which are needed for continuous, industry-wide improvement.

It also offers an opportunity for leading practitioners in Health and Safety to come together to network with fellow industry peers and learn from and exchange ideas with those driving change and improvement throughout the sector.

More information:

Event: New ‘Protecting Welders’ Health Seminar

Published: 23 February 2020

19 March 2020, Manchester, UK

Register for free BOHS Breathe Freely in Manufacturing breakfast seminar in Manchester

BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, has announced details of its programme of free morning seminars focusing on the prevention of occupational lung disease in the manufacturing sector, especially amongst those carrying out welding tasks.

These events are brought to you by the Breathe Freely in Manufacturing campaign and Plymovent in a variety of locations across the UK, including Manchester on the 19 March 2020. The campaign has been raising awareness about occupational lung disease in manufacturing since 2017 in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Make UK (former EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation), TWI, TUC, JCB, Toyota and BAE Systems.

The roadshows are being presented at a time of growing synergy in collective efforts to tackle life-threatening lung diseases caused by exposures to welding fume.

Who should attend?

Anyone who needs to keep abreast of these changes, and in particular people with health and safety roles in the manufacturing industry and those responsible for managing welders and protecting workers’ health should attend.

What will the sessions offer?

More information:

Event: Northern Ireland Fire Industry Conference

Published: 23 February 2020

23 April 2020, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

As part of the FIA’s Northern Ireland Week, the FIA host their very first Northern Ireland Fire Industry Conference (NIFIC).

The Northern Ireland Fire Industry Conference will take place on Thursday, 23 April 2020 at the Titanic Centre in Belfast, a monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city’s Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built. In today’s competitive and ever-changing industry, it is now more important than ever to keep up to date with the latest industry developments, which is why this conference serves as an opportunity to all fire industry stakeholders. Aimed at all individuals already working in the fire trade; whether that be: maintenance, installing, commissioning, designing, portable extinguishers, extinguishing systems or fire risk assessment and also those looking to move into the industry, the FIA’s NIFIC agenda should appeal to all.

The NIFIC will commence at 08:30 with registration and finish at 16:15. This content-rich conference has a whole host of varied and important topics to engage with. Here is a selection of topics, starting with a discussion around competency which is currently the most important word in the industry. Followed by two seminars on BS 5839-1: 2017 and its equally important counterpart BS 5839-6. This serves an opportunity to better understand what has been our iconic guidebook for decades; they are both recognised as being at the forefront of every decision made on the: design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems. Just before the buffet lunch, you can hear from businesses who are behind a selection of industry changing innovations.

In the afternoon, NIFIC will cover all the transformational recommendations and changes that will come from the Dame Judith Hackitt’s ‘Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’. The conference will then explore a variety of the FIA’s research projects where we have collaborated with our members and other organisations to discover meaningful insights into the industry.

The FIA is proud to announce that the NIFIC will be free to attend for all delegates and that all seminars that take place will count towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.

The FIA is a not-for-profit trade association promoting professional standards in the UK fire safety industry.

The Association was formed in April 2007 out of a merger between two longstanding and well-respected trade associations, FETA (Fire Extinguishing Trade Association) and BFPSA (British Fire Protection Systems Association). The FIA is ‘owned’ by its members, which means that they are answerable to and representative of their members.

More information:

REACH News from ECHA

Published: 23 February 2020

February 2020 – Issue 1

In this issue:

As storms hit, spare a thought for the workers

Published: 23 February 2020

Rail, maritime and transport union RMT and firefighters’ union FBU have highlighted the essential and under-appreciated role of the workers keeping Britain safe and mobile through ‘atrocious’ storm conditions.

Commenting as Britain was battered by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members on rail and ferries are reporting the most atrocious working conditions today and they are out their battling the elements right at the front line protecting public safety and doing whatever possible to keep services running. They are unsung heroes each and every one of them.”

More information:

Criminal charges possible over Grenfell – inquiry chair

Published: 23 February 2020

Those involved in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower are facing possible charges of fraud and conspiracy to defraud, according to the chair of the public inquiry into the disaster that claimed 72 lives.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick has told the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, that during forthcoming hearings examining the marketing of the combustible cladding and insulation that spread the fire, witnesses are “very likely” to be asked to discuss issues involving potential fraud offences. The inquiry had already heard that witnesses could face criminal prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work Act and in some cases could be charged with manslaughter or corporate manslaughter.

The Guardian reports that Moore-Bick revealed the possibility of fraud charges in an application to Cox for an undertaking that witnesses’ oral evidence would not be used against them in criminal proceedings, a call described as ‘outrageous’ by the union Unite.

More information:

HSE to carry out inspections following safety alert

Published: 23 February 2020

HSE is reminding employers that they must protect their workers’ health by controlling the risks from welding fume.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) current programme of inspections will review health and safety standards across the country and businesses are encouraged to visit HSE’s revised guidance to remind themselves of the changes to control expectations.

To protect your workers’ health, you must ensure you have adequate controls in place to avoid or reduce exposure to welding fume. Employers should be using local exhaust ventilation where effective and provide suitable respiratory protective equipment where necessary to protect workers in the metal fabrication industry from inhaling fumes.

The inspections follow a safety alert that was issued in February 2019 after new evidence showed exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause cancer and HSE updated guidance to reflect this.

More information:

Change in Enforcement Expectations for Mild Steel Welding Fume

Published: 23 February 2020

Health and Safety Executive – Safety alert

There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans. The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.

With immediate effect, there is a strengthening of HSE’s enforcement expectation for all welding fume, including mild steel welding; because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control.

Control of the cancer risk will require suitable engineering controls for all welding activities indoors e.g. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). Extraction will also control exposure to manganese, which is present in mild steel welding fume, which can cause neurological effects similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Where LEV alone does not adequately control exposure, it should be supplemented by adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect against the residual fume.

Appropriate RPE should be provided for welding outdoors. You should ensure welders are suitably instructed and trained in the use of these controls.

Regardless of duration, HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure.

Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.

Action required

  1. Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
  2. Make sure suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration. This includes welding outdoors.
  3. Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
  4. Make sure all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required.
  5. Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.

More information:

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recognised by Rail Safety Body

Published: 23 February 2020

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has certified the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as an affiliate member.

The affiliation, awarded recently at a collaborative workshop between the two organisations, heralds a new era for sharing best practices and collaboration in all areas of health and safety.

Topics where HSE can offer significant expertise and experience include: the decarbonisation landscape, future standards as well as worker health.

Receiving the accolade on behalf of HSE, Strategic Account Manager Lorraine Gavin commented: “We are really excited to work alongside RSSB and their members to support their mission for a better, safer railway”.

More information:

Fire Prevention and Rescue statistics, policy papers and consultations

Published: 24 January 2020

Below are recent documents published by the UK government.

Research and Statistics

  1. Fire statistics guidance, 16 January 2020, Home Office, Statistical data set
  2. Fire statistics data tables, 16 January 2020, Home Office, Statistical data set
  3. Fire statistics incident level datasets, 16 January 2020, Home Office, Statistical data set
  4. Response times to fires attended by fire and rescue services: England, April 2018 to March 2019, 16 January 2020, Home Office, Official statistics
  5. Fire and rescue workforce and pensions statistics: England April 2018 to March 2019 second edition, 14 November 2019, Home Office, Official statistics

More research and statistics

Policy papers and consultations

  1. Fire safety: risk prioritisation in existing buildings – a call for evidence, 20 January 2020, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Open consultation, Closing date 17 February 2020
  2. Proposed fire and rescue services inspection programme and framework 2020/21, 22 October 2019, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, Closed consultation, Date closed 29 November 2019
  3. Sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats, 5 September 2019, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Closed consultation, Date closed 28 November 2019
  4. Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report: government response, 21 January 2020, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and Home Office, Policy paper
  5. Building regulations and fire safety: government response to the Select Committee report, 21 October 2019, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Policy paper

More policy papers and consultations

Published: 11 November 2019

The list on FIG UK website was compiled by Sheila Pantry, OBE FIG UK Member has recently been updated in October 2019 by the following members: Sheila Pantry, Sally Walsh, Elizabeth Peagram, Abigail Chapman, Paula McCrudden and Alyson Warner.

Please send any amendments or new titles with details to:

Next FIG UK Dairy Date

Published: 11 November 2019

The next FIG UK meeting is a Christmas mini information exchange meeting and meal at 2-5 pm on Wednesday, 11 December 2019… more details will follow about the location.

Did you know… that HSE has unveiled a world class hydrogen testing facility?

Published: 11 November 2019

Recently opened – the unique 100% hydrogen testing facility at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Science and Research Centre in Buxton.

H21, the world’s largest project to reduce carbon emissions, is opening the first ever testing facility for 100 per cent hydrogen.

Funded through Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, the project is led by Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the gas distributor for the North of England, in partnership with Cadent, SGN and Wales& West Utilities, HSE’s Centre for Energy and DNV-GL.

It seeks to establish if a hydrogen gas network is equally as safe as the natural gas grid. The results will be critical in determining if it is safe to convert millions of homes across the country from natural gas to hydrogen.

HSE’s Science and Research Centre is the first research facility in the world to carry out testing of existing network assets with 100 percent hydrogen. The specially designed rig will explore how hydrogen behaves on a variety of assets such as pipes, valves and joints compared with the behaviour of natural gas.

All the safety evidence collected during the experimental trials will assist the government in progressing towards a policy decision on hydrogen by the mid 2020’s.

Andrew Curran, HSE’s Chief Scientific Adviser, said: “We are pleased to be part of the H21 programme, and in particular, that we are housing this new specialist facility here in Buxton. We are sure this will become a key component in providing the evidence which will enable hydrogen to become a safe, clean and resilient component of our approach to achieving zero-emissions by 2050.”

Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report

Published: 2 November 2019

Report of the Public Inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017

Chairman: The Rt Hon Sir Martin Moore-Bick

Published: 31 October 2019

The Chairman has published his Phase 1 report and provided a statement.

Please note that the Phase 1 report contains content and images that some may find distressing.

UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) releases annual injury and ill-health statistics for Great Britain for 2018/2019

Published: 2 November 2019

The number of injuries and incidents of ill-health in workplaces across Great Britain is still too high, new statistics show.

The annual report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) includes statistics for work-related ill health, workplace injuries, working days lost, enforcement action taken, and the associated costs to Great Britain.

Figures show that around 581,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2018/2019, with 1.4 million workers suffering from work-related ill-health.

The statistics, compiled from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other sources, illustrate that in Great Britain in the 2018/2019 period there were:

The estimated economic cost to Great Britain totalled £15 billion in 2017/2018.

There have been no significant changes to industries in which there is a higher risk of sustaining an injury while at work, with construction and agriculture still amongst the high-risk sectors.

Despite Great Britain continuing to be one of the safest places to work, the reported figures highlight there are still areas to be improved upon to prevent fatalities, injuries and ill-health. The figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain a healthier and safer place to work.

More information:

All together for the European Fire Safety Week: 18-21 November 2019

Published: 2 November 2019

For its very first European Fire Safety Week will gather, from the 18th to 21st November 2019, a myriad of activities related to fire safety. Under the umbrella of the European Fire Safety Alliance, a large range of stakeholders are organizing an international congress, education seminars, conferences and meetings with Members of the European Parliament. The European Fire Safety Week will start with the Award Ceremony and the launch of an Exhibition in the European Parliament.

Fire Safety touches all European citizens. 5,000 people die because of fire each year. Many more persons are injured. The European Fire Safety Alliance initiates the European Fire Safety Week to raise awareness among policymakers and stakeholders on this issue.

“We believe that most of the European fire victims in the home are preventable! Many individuals, industry and organisations from the professional fire sector will share creative, pragmatic and successful initiatives to reduce fire risk during this first European Fire Safety Week. This first step to combine knowledge and best practices will lead to a European approach that will save lives.” – Elie van Strien, Chair of the European Fire Safety Alliance.

The European Fire Safety Week will start with the 12th International Congress Fire Safety & Science in Arnhem, followed by a large meeting of European Fire Officers associations in Copenhagen. From the 18th to the 21st, 4 days of high-level conferences will take place in Brussels. Days are shaped by 4 main themes: Community Fire Safety, Building Fire Safety, Electrical Safety & Energy Transition, Furniture Fire Safety & Smoke Spread in residential buildings. In parallel in Antwerp, the International Safety & Education Seminar will gather to exchange experiences concerning fire safety awareness. Themes like research, focus on target audiences, communication, innovation and behavioural change including overseas experiences will be presented and discussed.

The outcome of the European Fire Safety week will be consolidated into a report that will pave the way for the next two years. This major piece of work will be presented to the European Parliament in March 2020 to secure further progress in Fire Safety. The European Fire Safety Week and the report to be issued in March 2020 will contribute to the Fire Information Exchange Platform, initiated by the European Commission in 2017.

More information:

UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Fire Safety advice and guidance

Published: 2 November 2019

Most fires are preventable. Those responsible for workplaces and other buildings to which the public have access can avoid them by taking responsibility for and adopting the right behaviours and procedures.

This section on HSE’s website covers general advice on fire safety and also provides guidance on substances that cause fire and explosion.

Event: Electrical Safety & Energy Transition – Preparing Buildings for a Safe Energy Transition

Published: 2 November 2019

20 November 2019, L42, Rue de la Loi 42, 1040 Brussels, Belgium

The conference will focus on electrical safety in buildings, discussing the key challenges ahead linked, in particular, to decarbonisation. Electricity is poised to play a predominant role in our buildings and clean, decentralized technologies will multiply electrical uses and transform electrical installations in our homes. What are the successful measures for minimising electrical hazards and fires in dwellings and what conditions enable a safe energy transition for buildings?

This event should be attended by representatives from the electrical value chain, from manufacturers, to distributors and installers, electrical safety experts, building technologies experts, consumer and tenant interest representatives, fire brigades, insurance companies, and policymakers covering energy and building legislation.

Full details:

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service consultation survey

Published: 30 September 2019

To help Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to provide relevant, useful and timely statistics, SFRS would like your feedback on what it publishes on its statistics webpage.

In 2014 the Scottish Government handed SFRS responsibility for continuing two statistical series: Fire and Rescue Incident Statistics and Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics. In order to produce valuable statistics that meet the needs of users, SFRS needs a clearer idea of who uses its statistics and what they use them for. SFRS is also thinking of making a number of changes which impact on the statistics it publishes, and so SFRS is seeking guidance from users before it makes these changes.

Please complete the survey:

Event: FIM Expo 2019

Published: 23 August 2019

16 October 2019, Sheffield United Football Club, Sheffield, UK

It’s now two months until next Fire Industry Manufacturers’ (FIM) Expo, Wednesday 16th October 2019. This time the FIM Expo will take place at Sheffield United Football Club.

Organised by the Fire Industry Association (FIA), FIM Expo features many of the UK’s leading fire detection and alarm manufacturers and focuses on showcasing the latest fire products and developments and getting expert advice in this sector of the industry.

With a wide range of exhibitors confirmed so far, FIM Expo is for anyone working in this area, whether as an installer or maintainer of fire detection and alarm systems, a manager of such systems in commercial premises or as an architect or person specifying what type of fire protection systems should be installed in a building.

The FIA will also be hosting two free, CPD accredited, seminars at the Expo. Both sessions will focus on key topics affecting FD&A world.

The Fire Industry Association will also have a stand, so that those interested can meet the Membership Manager and enquire about the benefits of FIA membership (which includes discounts on fire protection training and qualifications, and the possibility of a stand at FIM Expo).

Chris Tilley, FIA Membership Manager comments that: “Competency and how you prove it is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, and if it’s not then it should be. At FIM Expo this October the FIA have invited BAFE and leading Certification Bodies to offer you a one stop shop solution. Come and visit us to get expert industry advice on how best to achieve competency for your company and engineers”.

FIM Expo is open from 08.30 am to 14.30 pm on Wednesday 16th October 2019 and is free to attend. Parking and refreshments are also available free of charge, including a buffet.

The Expo itself is located in Platinum Suite at:

Sheffield United Conference & Events, Bramall Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S2 4SU (Entrance on the Cherry Street side of the ground)

Seminar: FIA will be hosting two, free, CPD accredited seminars. Both seminars are free, but places are limited.

For general information on the event and to register visit:

Event: Innovations in Tunnels 2019

Published: 23 August 2019

13-14 November 2019, Chamonix, France – Plus 15 November 2019 Tour of Mont Blanc Tunnel

Latest Trends & Innovative Ideas Within Tunnels” – EnigmaCG’s Annual Conference on Innovation in Tunnels: Construction, Maintenance, Safety and Fire Protection touches on all aspects of a tunnel. Innovation and the emerging of new technologies that go along with a tunnel will always be highly sought after to ensure that not just newly developed but also existing tunnels adhere to these best practices.


... and what were the mistakes that have been made in the past such as the tunnels in Norway and the latest findings in Tunnels, Construction, Maintenance, Fire & Safety then TSFP is a must attend event for you and your colleagues

Do you have a product/solution for the tunnel industry, want to test the market or have a new offering? then Innovation in Tunnels (TSFP) is the only place you should be! With over 100 influencers/decision makers under one roof from all across Europe, and is the perfect opportunity for you to pitch to a captive audience who are seeking to know more and more importantly have the budget to spend where they see fit for their organization.

More information:

FBU says government complacency behind rise in fires

Published: 23 August 2019

Fires in England have increased by almost 10 per cent this year, while the government continues to impose damaging cuts to fire and rescue services, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. The union added the overall number of incidents, including flooding and wildfires, attended by firefighters also continued to rise, amidst heavy cuts to fire and rescue budgets and firefighter numbers.

The latest Home Office data shows:

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “These latest figures confirm what firefighters are feeling on the ground – they are under increasing pressure, responding to more incidents with scarcer resources, as budgets and firefighter numbers continue to be cut. Shamefully, firefighters are being thanked for their efforts this year with yet another real-terms pay cut.”

He added: “We are deeply concerned that, after massive cuts to fire safety officers and years of fire safety deregulation, there has been a significant increase in fires in England. We have warned of the impact of climate change on fire for the last decade, but the government has failed to listen. Long, dry summers are making fires more likely, while firefighters are responding to a huge number of floods across the country. The Westminster government has been utterly complacent about fire safety for years and it is clearly taking its toll. We urgently need to invest in fire and rescue services and to radically boost firefighter recruitment – people’s lives, homes, businesses, and communities are at stake.”

Firefighter numbers have fallen by a fifth since 2010, while the number of specialist fire safety officers has been cut by a quarter, the union said.

Unions back call from fire chiefs for sprinklers in all schools

Published: 23 August 2019

Firefighters in London have not attended a single school or college fire this year where sprinklers were fitted, shocking official figures have revealed. London Fire Brigade (LFB) data, for this year up to 25 July, show that none of the 57 educational establishments in the capital that had fires were fitted with automatic fire suppression systems. The analysis also shows that only 13 of the 565 school fires attended between 2014 and July this year were at institutions with the safety systems installed.

Unions have welcomed an LFB call for sprinklers to be made mandatory in all new schools and that older institutions should be retrofitted with them during refurbishments over the summer holidays. Matt Wrack, general secretary of the firefighters’ union FBU, said: “Sprinklers can assist in the control of a fire in its early stages, limiting damage and giving occupants additional time to escape, as well as reducing the risks faced by firefighters attending the incident.”

He added: “The government are trying to build schools on the cheap and the cost could be the complete disruption of our children’s education.”

Which? says hundreds of potentially unsafe fridges and freezers still on sale

Published: 11 February 2019

Britain’s biggest electrical retailers are continuing to sell plastic-backed fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers even though this type of backing has been shown to pose a fire risk, a Which? investigation has revealed.

There were 369 plastic-backed refrigeration models listed when Which? checked the websites of the four biggest retailers on 21 January 2019.

Since Which? alerted retailers to their findings, they have told them they have made some progress in reducing that number. But Which? estimates that the total currently stands at between 148 and 241 plastic-backed models still on sale. Their own testing has found plastic backing to be extremely flammable and, in the event of a fire in your home, can dramatically accelerate the spread of flames.

Despite their calls for them to be introduced earlier, stricter safety standards that will ban the manufacture of fridges and freezers with flammable plastic backs are not expected to come into force for several more months, so consumers remain at risk. The manufacture and sale of flammable plastic-backed appliances remains legal until the introduction of new safety standards, but we’re calling on retailers to put the safety of their consumers first and stop selling them now.

Read more:

When a fire breaks out in the workplace the consequences can be devastating

Published: 11 February 2019

In fact, 75% of businesses do not recover from a serious fire PDF Document. Yet why is it, that in the twenty-first century, confusion still occurs over which fire extinguisher should be used to tackle a fire?

With 60 per cent of office fires estimated to occur during working hours PDF Document, it makes sense that more small fires could be extinguished in the workplace if staff were better equipped to tackle them before they become unmanageable. It’s time we re-think how fires are dealt with and tackle the problem through both innovation and improved staff training.

Please see below a viewpoint from Dave Breith, CEO of Firexo which discusses how innovation and improved staff training are fundamental in reducing the threat of fire to businesses.

Who’s in charge? What do I do? Reducing the threat of fire to businesses

A fire in the workplace can have devastating consequences for everyone involved; from employees and customers, to the business itself. In fact, research from the ABI (Association of British Insurers) shows that 75% of businesses do not recover from a serious fire PDF Document.

With the average cost of a fire in a commercial building estimated to stand at £58,100 PDF Document, the odds are stacked against a business being able to survive the repercussions of a serious blaze. And with statistics showing that fires in the workplace are more common than most people realise, it is essential that businesses do everything possible to prevent falling victim to them. In Greater London alone, there are between 20-22,000 fires a year in non-residential buildings PDF Document.

Duty of care

As an employer, it is your duty to have stringent policies and procedures in place to handle potential fire hazards. These policies usually include carrying out regular fire risk assessments, warning employees of any dangers, implementing appropriate fire safety measures, planning for emergencies and ensuring your staff are prepared for such an incident. There is clearly no room for error in fire safety procedures. Yet, despite best efforts, preventing a fire from sparking is not always achievable – accidents can happen, and unforeseeable incidents do occur.

But, whilst every business has a fire safety procedure in place, how many employees really know what to do if a fire breaks out? Employees might know who the fire marshal is, where the fire exits are and where the designated fire evacuation meeting point can be found. They might even know where the fire extinguishers are kept. But, how many of them know how to use a fire extinguisher? Or, more importantly, which fire extinguisher to use.

Time is of the essence when it comes to fire safety, but currently, the confusion over which fire extinguisher should be used, in which scenario, could be unnecessarily lengthening the time taken to put it out.

Using the wrong fire extinguisher can also have dangerous consequences and may even make the situation worse. For example, if an individual attempted to extinguish an electrical fire with water they could be putting themselves at risk of an electric shock. A CO2 extinguisher handled incorrectly can cause frostbite to the hands of the operator, and water sprayed into a pan fire can ignite a flare up into a fireball.

This uncertainty is often the reason that many employees are unsure if they’ll do more harm than good when faced with the decision of either tackling a small fire, or vacating the building. Ordering all staff to leave the building on discovering any fire might sound like the simplest and safest plan. However, by doing this, employers are forgetting their legal obligations, as the designated ‘responsible person’, to surrounding life and property, the environment (foam, for example, is toxic) and the safety of the fire crews that may have to risk their lives to tackle a large blaze that’s out of control.

Turning the table

With 60 per cent of office fires estimated to occur during working hours PDF Document, it makes sense that more small fires could be extinguished if staff were better equipped to tackle them before they become unmanageable. It’s time we re-think how fires are dealt with and tackle the problem through both innovation and improved staff training.

We need to replace rows of different fire extinguishers, with confusing warning labels depicting what they can and can’t be used on, with a one-size-fits-all solution. One extinguisher, all fires, and no dangerous consequences for holding it the wrong way, or risk of dangerous chemicals harming the environment.

Then we need to equip staff with the skills, training and confidence to pick up a single extinguisher and tackle a blaze when necessary. Yes, there will always be incidents that cannot be tackled with extinguishers, where it’s clearly safer to evacuate, but this cannot be the policy for every single fire.

The twenty-first century has seen a number of catastrophic fire disasters, with consequences that have cost millions of pounds, resources and, most importantly, lives. Too many of these devastating fires could have been easily stopped in their tracks if caught earlier.

In an era where we are harnessing the power of innovation to improve our lives, from 3D imaging to visualise health and safety hazards PDF Document and biometric collars to keep us awake at the wheel, knowing which fire extinguisher to use on what fire shouldn’t be a cause of confusion. The time for change is now, we need to clear up confusion with a single solution for every fire, and empower employees to use it, when safe to do so. Lives and livelihoods might depend on it.

Chris Plant, Senior Account Executive, Berkeley Communications | Tel: 0118 909 0909 | |

Fire and Rescue Statistics, Scotland, 2015-16

Published: 19 October 2016

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) released Fire and Rescue Statistics, Scotland, 2015-16 on 18 October 2016. The bulletin presents statistics on incidents, casualties and fatalities attended by SFRS in Scotland relating to April 2015 to March 2016.

Highlight figures show:

All incidents



Non-fire incidents

False alarms

The full statistical publication and data tables, including Local Authority breakdowns, is available at

New partnership helping UK fire services share knowledge and research

Published: 1 June 2016

The UK-based Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), Fire Industry Association (FIA) and the Fire Service College (FSC), have come together to form a new research and development partnership. A joint memorandum of understanding, which was signed this month, clearly demonstrates each organisation’s commitment to collaborate around the future evaluation of Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) operational equipment.

The partnership will see joint research and evaluation, making it easier for Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) to share information and choose the most effective operational equipment.

Many of the UK Fire and Rescue Services currently need to undertake separate evaluation of operational equipment, this results in replication of costs for public sector, manufacturers and suppliers.

The recently created Research, Development, Technology and Innovation (RDTI) Hub situated at the Fire Service College at Moreton in Marsh in Gloucestershire will provide the venue for this unified activity going forward.

The Hub is part of the wider UK FRS Research and Development Function led by CFOA and supported by fire and rescue services across the United Kingdom. This national collaborative approach will enable services to access evaluations and information about operational equipment they may wish to use, share knowledge and learning more effectively, conduct academic research and reduce replication across the sector. This will result in financial savings and increased coordination across the fire and rescue services.

More information:

Fires and fire deaths down over five years (2011-2015)

Published: 1 June 2016

The total numbers of fires and fire deaths are down by over 20 per cent over the last five years new figures reveal.

Last year, a total of 36 people died from fire in the capital compared with 47 five years ago.

There were 20,770 fires in London last year down by a quarter on 2011/12.

However, London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson has warned against complacency.

Despite the downward five year trend, fire deaths are up on last year’s record low of 30 with deaths as a result of deliberate fires, which includes suicide, up to 11 this year compared with three in 2014/15.

For more information, illustration and map see

London Fire Brigade renews appeal for Government to take action on dangerous white goods

Published: 25 May 2016

A fire in Harrow caused by a defective tumble dryer has prompted London Fire Brigade (LFB) to renew its campaign to make it easier for Londoners to find out whether their white goods have been recalled.

Beauticians in Harrow had a lucky escape when a tumble dryer in their salon on Kenton Road set on fire. Thankfully staff and customers were alerted by the shop’s fire alarm system and safely evacuated.

More information:

An Appreciation of Dr Roger Berrett – long-time member of FIG UK

Published: 18 April 2016

Dr Roger Berrett peacefully passed away on Good Friday, 25 March 2016.

Dr Roger Berrett was a forensic scientist for almost five decades. He joined the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science laboratory at Scotland Yard as a forensic chemist in 1967 with a BSc and a PhD in chemistry from Birkbeck College, University of London.

Roger worked on many cases of murder, robbery, burglary, arson, fraud, traffic accidents, possession and supply of drugs. In 1973 he was appointed Head of the Drugs and Toxicology section of the laboratory.

In 1978 he took up a new post as ‘Staff Officer to the Director of the Laboratory’. This role broadened his knowledge to encompass all areas of forensic science including Biology, Document and Firearms examination, Scanning Electron Microscopy and numerous chemical and physical techniques used to enhance latent marks and fingerprints. The post involved giving many lectures on ‘Forensic Science Awareness’.

In 1988 Roger returned to the ‘sharp end’ of forensic science and became an operational member of the Fire Investigation Unit.

In 1994 he took voluntary early retirement and became self-employed as a Forensic Science Consultant in general matters of forensic science and fire and explosion investigation in particular. Since that time Roger advised and conducted investigations for a number of companies, individuals, lawyers and police organisations in the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Germany, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Jersey, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Spain. In 2011 Roger was involved in a training course initiative at University of Huddersfield in conjunction with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in training Libyan scientists to be forensic experts.

Throughout his career, in both the public and private sector, Roger lectured at various national and international conferences and training courses for scientists, police, fire officers, lawyers and other professionals. One of his lectures at a FIG UK Seminar led to Roger being invited to talk and demonstrate the safe use of barbeques on a well known TV station! He really enjoyed that assignment, afterwards serving up the food and drinks to the film crew!

Roger was always keen to be up to date and achieved this through numerous contacts that have been made over the years, the scientific literature and attending meetings. Roger was an active member of the Fire Information Group UK (FIG UK) for over 20 years, the Forensic Science Society (Vice President 2002–2004) and a founder member of the Fire and Explosion Investigation Working Group of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI). He regularly attended ENFSI meetings as an invited UK delegate.

A keen sportsman during his life, Roger really appreciated the social side of life and had many friends worldwide who enjoyed, over good food and wines, his joyful company, vibrant personality, expert knowledge and fund of stories – often broken by a sudden “excuse me whilst I nip outside for some fresh air and a ciggie”!

RIP Dr Roger Berrett – WE ALL MISS YOU!

See also an appreciation from Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Article: Injury Risk and Noise Exposure in Firefighter Training Operations

Published: 11 April 2016

Richard L. Neitzel, Rachel N. Long, Kan Sun, Stephanie Sayler and Terry L. von Thaden

Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 2016, Vol. 60, No. 4, pp. 405-420


Introduction: Firefighters have high rate of injuries and illnesses, as well as exposures to high levels of noise. This study explored the relationship between noise exposure and injury among firefighters.

Methods: We recruited firefighters undergoing vehicle extrication and structural collapse emergency response training at a highly realistic training facility. Demographics, health status, body mass index (BMI), and history of serious injuries (i.e. injuries requiring first aid treatment, treatment in a medical clinic or office, or treatment at a hospital) were assessed at baseline, and daily activities, injury events, and near misses were assessed daily via surveys. Participants’ noise exposures were monitored for one 24-h period using noise dosimeters. We used a mixed-effects logistic regression model to estimate the odds of injury events and near misses associated with noise exposure as an independent variable.

Results: Of 56 subjects, 20 (36%) reported that they had ever suffered a serious injury during firefighting activities, and 9 (16%) reported a serious injury within the past year. We estimated rates of 6.6 lifetime serious injuries per 100 FTE 16.1 serious injuries per 100 FTE within the past year. Our models indicated a significant increase in injury events and near misses among those with higher BMI, and as well as a dose–response relationship between near misses/injuries and increasing noise levels. Noise levels >90 dBA in the 30 min prior to time of injury or near miss were associated with substantially increased odds ratios for injury or near miss. Our models further indicated that perceived job demands were significantly associated with increased risk of injury or near miss.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that noise exposures may need to be incorporated into injury prevention programs for firefighters to reduce injuries among this high-risk occupational group.

Full Article:

Event: CFOA Smart City Briefing – The role of the Fire and Rescue Service in the Smart City

Published: 11 April 2016

11 May 2016, Greater Manchester Fire Training Centre, Manchester, UK

In the latest in a series of topical briefings, this looks at the Smart City and considers why fire and rescue service leaders should be looking seriously at opportunities to influence developments which will have a long term impact on the delivery of services in the future.

The Smart City is part of a transformative change that is taking place in cities across the world. There is no one accepted definition, but the UK Government notes that the Smart City is a process, a series of steps by which cities become more liveable and resilient; and as a result are able to respond quicker to new challenges.

This is a citizen-centric approach, with service delivery improved through a strong emphasis on digital with the development of an intelligent physical infrastructure known as the Internet of Things (IOT). Transparency and openness, particularly around data are fundamental to the Smart City.

Against this backdrop, it is easy to see how fire and rescue services must be involved in this process (and indeed already are, but perhaps without the smart label being attributed) and influencing from the front, not following in its wake.

More information:

Event: Safer Cities – New Thinking Required

Published: 11 April 2016

27 April 2016, 13:00 - 17:00, The Cavalry and Guards Club, 127 Piccadilly, London W1J 7PX

As global urban cities grow in population numbers, the strain on the national infrastructure continues to be tested. Businesses will begin to feel the strain as more pressure is placed on transportation, accommodation, office space, capital costs and emergency response. More people requiring more resource provision may well reveal infrastructure vulnerabilities and resilience and security concerns that will affect us all. This briefing identifies some of the most critical aspects of city growth and focuses on how this will impact on businesses in the UK and beyond. Whether it be the provision of skills, supply chain resilience, technological innovation, security planning, new threat challenges or critical partnerships; new thinking is required.

More information:

New HSE publications

Published: 22 March 2016

Please find below information on new HSE publications which may be of interest.

HSG176 – Storage of flammable liquids in tanks (Second edition)
This guidance applies to above and below ground fixed bulk storage tanks. It applies to premises where flammable liquids are stored in individual tanks or groups of tanks. The guidance has been updated to align with the recommendations of the Buncefield report.
HSG51 – Storage of flammable liquids in containers (Third edition)
This guidance is for those responsible for the safe storage of flammable liquids in containers at the workplace. The guidance now contains discrete topic areas which outline the potential risks and recommended control measures for a number of different types of business.
HSG140 – Safe use and handling of flammable liquids (Second edition)
This guidance explains the fire and explosion hazards associated with flammable liquids and will help you determine how to control the risks in your workplace. This revision incorporates information and cites relevant standards in relation to publications which have been withdrawn.

Advanced Principles of Fire Dynamics: 3-day course

Published: 9 March 2016

BRE Academy (UK), 31 May 2016 – 2 June 2016

A 3-day course aimed at fire engineers and fire investigators at the BRE Academy on 31 May 2016. The course is being presented by Dr James Quintiere and Mr Robert Schaal and it attracts 22.5 CPD hours with the IFE.

This programme includes presentations and experiments on the following topics:

The number of fires in Scotland falls

Published: 21 December 2015

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has released on 15 December 2015 the statistical bulletin Fire and Rescue Statistics, Scotland, 2014-15, presenting the latest statistics on fires, special service incidents, casualties and false alarms in Scotland.

The number of fires fell by 11 per cent in 2014-15, continuing the general downward trend of the last ten years. The latest figures report 25,002 fires in Scotland, down from 27,979 in 2013-14. This fall reflects an 18% decrease in the number of secondary outdoor fires (from 16,359 in 2013-14 to 13,398 in 2014-15). The number of fires attended in 2014-15 was the lowest in the last decade.

Figures show that:

The full statistical publication and data tables, including Local Authority breakdowns for 2013-14, is available at

Kirsty Bosley, National Statistics and Analysis, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service | Tel: 0131 659 7247 | Mobile: 077 959 77000 | Email:

Public consultation on the extension of the European statistical programme (ESP) – Deadline 15 October 2015

Published: 23 September 2015

Please find information about an important consultation currently underway within the European Union (EU) institution. The consultation is specifically seeking the views of data users and producers of European statistics. Many working in the fire industry will have noted the difficulties of comparing reliable or consistent fire statistics across the EU.

This makes it much harder to influence EU institutions as proposals cannot be supported by sound statistics. It also reduces the evidence base across member states that would allow any of our relevant professional sectors to be informed about best practice.

The consultation can be found at the following link:

The link will take you to an online form that is simple and quick to complete.

Anyone can respond whether as an individual or on behalf of an organisation. This is your chance to influence the outcome.

It might be worth remembering that the UK Depart for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) carried out research into EU Fire Statistics on:

The main findings of this were that although there are a number of states collecting an extensive range of high quality data on fires, their causes and circumstances, fire statistics are not often compared across Europe. The report provides options on how to make comparisons of existing data and/or how to increase the consistency of data collected by states, while recognising the difficulties in doing this.

UK Pilots Advise Air Passengers to Carry Lithium Battery Operated Equipment in the Cabin

Published: 6 August 2015

UK pilots are asking airlines to advise passengers to carry laptops, phones, tablets, e-books and cameras with lithium batteries safely in the aircraft cabin to cut the risk of fires in the luggage hold.

Lithium batteries in everyday items are highly flammable and, when they short circuit, have a tendency to burst into high intensity fires, which are difficult to extinguish.

Passengers usually carry devices with lithium batteries in their hand baggage, although this isn’t required by airlines. Also a phone, laptop or camera may inadvertently end up in the hold when a passenger is asked at the last minute to put their hand baggage in the hold due to lack of space in the aircraft cabin.

BALPA is encouraging airlines and regulators to look at what steps they could take to ensure devices powered by lithium batteries are only carried in the aircraft cabin, where a build up of gases or fire can be tackled more easily. Passengers should also be provided with advice on how to pack spare batteries safely in their hand baggage.

Lithium battery fires have caused at least three cargo aircraft crashes and the UN safety regulator has banned a specific type of lithium battery (lithium metal) from being carried as cargo on passenger aircraft. BALPA is asking the UK safety regulator to consider extending this restriction to cargo and other aircraft so that no lithium battery of any kind is carried as cargo in aircraft until further research has been carried out on how they can be transported safely in bulk.

BALPA General Secretary Jim McAuslan said:

Lithium batteries power the technology that enables passengers, pilots and cabin crew to travel light and stay connected but they carry an aircraft fire risk that we must all protect against. UK pilots are always vigilant to emerging risks because we want to stop accidents before they happen and make every single flight a safe one.

Small changes to current good safety practices will help keep us all safe while enabling passengers and pilots to carry the phones, laptops, tablets and e-books they depend upon for work and pleasure. We want to work with airlines and passengers to keep everyday lithium batteries on the aircraft but out of the luggage hold.

Exploding e-cigarettes: Nationwide safety alert issued by fire authorities after fresh spate of home fires

Published: 14 July 2015

A nationwide safety alert is being issued by fire authorities after a “highly disturbing” spate of fires caused by dodgy e-cigarette chargers which explode.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents all 49 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, fears that these are the “tip of the iceberg” and many cases go unreported.

The LGA has called for e-cigarette manufacturers to do more to warn of the dangers. This includes displaying prominent safety warnings, highlighting this issue, on e-cigarette packaging. Fire chiefs say many blazes are taking place because some smokers are not using compatible chargers. This means too much current goes into the batteries and they overheat and eventually explode. Battery material shoots out – up to two to three metres in distance – and can cause a fire if it lands on anything combustible.

See more at:

West Midlands Fire Service hosting a free event

Published: 15 April 2015

A message further to the presentation at the LGA Conference: Proof that incident attendance times are critical to survivability PDF Document

The Fire and Rescue sector is in a time of change and transformation driven by the need to meet reducing budgets and the changing needs of the communities we serve. Like many Fire Services, West Midlands Fire Service believes in taking an evidence based approach to change and to our service provision through our prevention, protection and response activities.

Following on the presentation that Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach delivered recently at the LGA Fire Conference, West Midlands Fire Service will be hosting a free event on 27 April 2015 at Coventry University, UK.

The aim of this event is to look at academic research that informs and guides our Service Delivery Models. During the day, we will hear from a number of key note speakers who will share with us their academic research:

There will also be an opportunity for questions and answers, so that we can all take as much information as possible from subject matter experts, to assist us all to develop different but evidence based service provision models to meet the needs of our communities based upon risk. A timeline of a lounge fire which formed part of the recent LGA presentation.

We would also like to extend an invitation to you or a colleague to present and share any academic research that you may have undertaken along with the associated findings. We would ask for a short presentation, to be followed by questions from members of the audience and the panel of speakers, to help develop a greater understanding.

We hope that you will be able to join us at this free event and would be grateful if you could email Alison Newis at or telephone – 0121 380 6102. An invitation is also extended for you to invite a colleague who you feel may benefit from attending.

If you would be interested in sharing your academic research on the day can we please ask that you provide a brief outline or the contact details, so that further information can be gathered for a finalised agenda.

Cancer rates among firefighters well above average

Published: 13 March 2015

Cancer rates among firefighters are well above average because of repeated exposure to deadly, toxic smoke, the European Fire Fighters Unions Alliance (EFFUA) has warned

The alliance of trade unions from 12 European countries is now urging the EU to introduce tough smoke toxicity regulations for construction materials, extra funding for research into the problem and additional resources for improving health training for firefighters.

“We chose this profession to save lives, but as a result of toxic chemicals we end up fighting for our own,” EFFUA President Mikael Svanberg told a European Parliament meeting of MEPs Against Cancer (MAC). “I’m tired of going to the funerals of colleagues who have died too young as a result of cancer.”

Centred specifically around the issue of cancer rates among firefighters the discussion was co-organised by Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) and the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL).

“The cancer rate amongst firefighters is shocking and I don’t see why this issue has not been addressed yet. It is time to take action both on EU level and Member States,” said meeting chairman and Czech Republic MEP Pavel Poc.

Swedish firefighter and cancer survivor Anders Cederberg told MEPs: “I was diagnosed with occupational cancer in 2011 after 29 years as a firefighter. The prognosis is good, but no fire fighter should endure what my family and I had to endure.”

Alex Forrest, Canadian trustee at the International Association of Fire Fighters, said that a recent study by Monash University in Melbourne had found overall cancer rates were elevated among Australian firefighters compared to the general public.

“This is a concern that impacts fire fighters all over the world,” he said. “It is not one fire that is killing us; it is the hundreds we are exposed to during our career.

“The issue of occupational exposure to these deadly chemicals needs to be addressed.”

Fridge freezer delay putting lives at risk – London Fire Brigade

Published: 13 March 2015

We are calling for fridge freezer manufacturers to act now to make their products safer. More than one fridge freezer fire a week!

Despite seven deaths and 71 serious injuries in London since 2010, we believe most manufacturers are still dragging their heels on making fire safety improvements.

There is, on average, one fridge freezer fire a week in the capital and we have been lobbying the industry to make their fridges and freezers more fire resistant for the last three and a half years.

What’s the problem with them?

Fridges and freezers are of particular concern to us because they contain large amounts of plastic and highly flammable insulation, which, if ignited, can cause large, rapidly developing fires that spread quickly, giving off highly toxic gases.

The doors and side panels of most fridges and freezers are usually covered in metal but we are concerned that many still use a flammable plastic backing which offers very little protection against the highly flammable insulation catching alight if a fire starts.

What we want to see happen

We are calling on the industry to ensure the backs of fridge freezers are made of non combustible or fire retardant materials as standard.

What we say

London Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Rita Dexter said: “Every home has a fridge or freezer and the chances are it will be plugged in and working safely for years but it is no exaggeration to say that they are potentially the most dangerous household appliances if they are involved in a fire.

“They contain large amounts of highly flammable foam insulation, often only protected by a thin plastic covering. This can be a recipe for disaster if a fault occurs or if a fire spreads from somewhere else to the fridge or freezer. They are also one of the few electrical items in your home to be always left on and these fires pose an even greater risk if they start when people are sleeping.

“Putting a simple non-combustible or fire retardant covering at the back of appliances is a relatively simple change that manufacturers can make and one that we believe would reduce the number of injuries, and potentially deaths, caused by fires involving fridges and freezers.”

The tragic death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah

The issue hit the headlines in September 2014 at the inquest into the death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah from Harrow who lost his life in a house fire which originated in a fridge freezer. After the hearing, following a submission from London Fire Brigade, the Coroner reported on the serious risk posed to the safety of consumers by the lack of any requirement to use non-flammable materials to protect the highly flammable insulation from ignition.

Shocking footage

Shocking footage filmed by the Brigade at the BRE testing facility clearly shows the dangers of having a fridge or freezer with a flammable plastic backing.

In a controlled burn test the plastic backed fridge freezer was well alight after just 90 seconds and had to be extinguished after just two and a half minutes as the fire was starting to overwhelm the testing room, while the fire set in the metal backed appliance, never really took hold, and burned for about 20 minutes before self extinguishing.

Here’s how a metal backed fridge performed in comparison

If you think there may be a problem with any of your refrigeration appliances our advice is to always unplug it and to contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician. You can also check if an electrical product is subject to a recall by looking at this database.

Finally ensure you have a smoke alarm, check regularly that it works and plan how you would get out in the event of a fire.

International Human Behaviour in Fire Symposium

Published: 25 February 2015

Monday, 28 September – Wednesday, 30 September 2015 – Cambridge, UK

The Programme Committee for the International Human Behaviour in Fire Symposium are pleased to announce that the 6th symposium in the series will, once again, take place at the prestigious campus of Downing College in Cambridge, UK.

Downing College has a unique and magnificent setting amid 20 acres of lawns and trees, yet is in the very centre of Cambridge, (just 5 minutes walk from cafes, restaurants and shops of Market Square).

The symposium will be housed in the new Howard Theatre and Howard Buildings surrounding a sunken garden connected by covered walkways. The auditorium has seats crafted from the finest Italian leather and state of the art AV facilities. Break-out rooms, refreshment and poster areas all enjoy the same high standard of facilities.

Accommodation at the College is grouped around the conference complex so delegates only have a short walk to the lecture theatre or the Delegate Lounge, reception, bar and refreshment area. Bedrooms are of a very high standard and we would encourage delegates to stay at the College to make the most of the collegiate atmosphere.

The City of Cambridge is one of the most important and beautiful in the country, famous throughout the world for its university and colleges. Cambridge is a compact cosmopolitan city with outstanding architecture both old and new but retains the ambience of a historic medieval town, yet it is the birthplace of some of the most recent scientific advances.

Further details from the Conference Organisers: Interscience Communications Ltd, West Yard House, Guildford Grove, London SE10 8JT, UK | Tel +44 (0)208 692 5050 | +44 (0)208 692 5155 | Email:

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics, Scotland, 2013-14

Published: 24 February 2015

Statistical bulletin providing information on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Topics covered include Home Fire Safety Visits, Stations, Equipment, Workforce and Attacks on Personnel at Incidents.

ISBN: 9781785441349

FIM Expo 2015 Goes to Wales

Published: 19 February 2015

The UK Fire Industry Manufacturers’ (FIM) Expo is heading to Wales this Spring with a one-day stop on Wednesday, 15th April 2015 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

Organised by the Fire Industry Association (FIA), FIM Expo features many of the UK’s leading fire detection and alarm manufacturers and focuses on showcasing the latest products and developments in this sector of the industry.

With around 20 exhibitors, FIM Expo is for anyone working in this area, whether as an installer or maintainer of fire detection and alarm systems, a manager of such systems in commercial premises or as an architect or person specifying what type of fire protection systems should be installed in a building.

The event is a road-show that travels around the UK, providing an intimate forum for networking as well as finding out what’s new in fire detection. It is designed to give delegates access to all the key manufacturers in one location on one day.

As well as the exhibitor stands the FIA will be providing two complimentary seminars. First seminar will focus on the BS 5266 Emergency Lighting which aims to give all those involved in the process of design, maintaining, providing and installing of Emergency Lighting systems an overview of the standards and items that must be taken into consideration when dealing with Emergency Lighting systems. The second seminar will focus on Visual Alarm Devices & BS EN 54-23.

FIM Expo is open from 09.00 to 16.00 on Wednesday, 15th April 2015 and is free to attend.

Annual Conference on Fire-Related Research and Developments (RE15) – Call for Proposals

Published: 2 February 2015

This event is taking place on Thursday, 12 November 2015 at the Fire Service College, Moreton in Marsh.

Please note that Thursday, 30 April 2015 is the closing date for the submission of presentation proposals. Early expressions of interest are welcome.

More information:

Launch of first ever comprehensive research into behaviour during fires in the home

Published: 19 January 2015

An innovative research project has been launched that for the first time will provide a comprehensive insight into how people behave when confronted with a fire in their home and the reasons behind their behaviour.

The research project – LIFEBID – involves nine fire and rescue services across the South East and the University of Greenwich – and next year will be rolled out as a national project.

The project began in 2009 when Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) began to undertake in-depth research with people who had been involved in fires in the home. The initial research produced challenging findings about human behaviour in fires and this prompted a decision to widen the work. KFRS developed a research partnership with the University of Greenwich and were successful in achieving funding for extending the project, initially across the South East (involving fire and rescue services in Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Buckinghamshire, Royal Berkshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight) and next year nationally. The Chief Fire Officers Association is also backing the research. The survey will form the first ever national database identifying human behaviour during fires in the home.

Prof Ed Galea (Lead Academic) said: “From an academic perspective this is an area about which very little is known and yet has enormous importance and value. We have seen a lot of interest in this project both here in the UK and from international colleagues.”

Ann Millington, Chief Executive of Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: “Having a better understanding of the public’s reaction when confronted with a fire at home will give fire and rescue services a valuable insight into what we need to do to keep people safe. I know fire and rescue services across the UK are very interested in this project and are keen to see the outcomes and how they can be put into practice.”

The survey is designed to be completed by people who have directly experienced a fire in the home, whether they needed to call the fire service or not. The survey is online at and local arrangements are in place to support anyone without internet access.

Jason Thelwell (CFOA lead officer for research), said: “We are very pleased to reach this important stage of the project and are working with the LIFEBID team to support its continued development. LIFEBID is a very welcome way to ensure we can systematically capture individual experiences of fires in the home and then apply the findings to strategic thinking and planning.”

The LIFEBID project has been awarded just under £200,000 through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme, including funding by Innovate UK (Technology Strategy Board) and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council.

The South East region comprises Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Buckinghamshire, Royal Berkshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight. A national pilot of the survey will begin in November 2014 with the full national launch of the survey planned for March 2015.

The survey includes two key and innovative research developments, a new method to help capture people’s perceptions of the fire conditions and an interactive timeline. Further information for the LIFEBID project including details about the project team and publications etc. can be found at

Latest Scottish Fire Statistics

Published: 19 January 2015

Scottish statistical bulletin Fire and Rescue Statistics, Scotland, 2013-14 (formerly Fire Statistics, Scotland) was recently published by Scottish Government, presenting the latest statistics on fires, special service incidents, casualties and false alarms in Scotland. Figures show that:

The statistical and ministerial news releases can be viewed at and

The full statistical publication and associated data tables are available at

The statistics in this publication cover the first year following the establishment of the SFRS. As such, this is the first year that the publication includes statistics at Local Authority level, in place of former FRS level breakdowns.

The Fire Industry Association (FIA) Reports Growth Year by Year

Published: 30 December 2014

This year FIA’s AGM took place at the 8 Northumberland Avenue in London on 11th November.

The Association announced that it had welcomed 106 new members into the organisation over the past 12 months and that its total membership now stands at 655.

At the AGM the FIA reported that:

Speaking about the event Graham Ellicott, FIA CEO has said: “The Fire Industry Association continues to go from strength to strength. Looking forward we shall continue to focus on raising the standard of competence and quality throughout the sector paying particular attention to the needs of the end user”.

The sell-out event was attended by 380 members and guests and provided the opportunity to network and catch up in addition to learning more about how the Association has been representing its members in the industry over the past 12 months.

This year the FIA has published its new look Annual Report along with an animated video of its highlights that was first played at the FIA’s AGM.

The report can be downloaded from the FIA website at or watched at the FIA’s YouTube channel.

Event: Developing Evidence-based Responses to Vulnerability in Society

Published: 23 October 2014

17 February 2015, Riverside Innovation Centre, University of Chester, UK

The University of Chester is offering a series of keynote Evidence Informed Public Policy lectures and symposia exploring the development of inter-disciplinary evidence-based, outcomes-focused research across the education and the public services.

The first symposium in the series focuses on policy development in the delivery of preventative and protective services in the area of civil emergencies, (routine and infrequent) arising from manmade or natural events and confirmed contributors include:

Contact: Emma Godding, Administrator / Researcher, Tel: 01244 511712, Email:

RE14 Conference Programme and Delegate Information

Published: 1 September 2014

Details of the forthcoming Conference Programme covering the latest Fire-Related Research and Developments (RE14), to be held at the Fire Service College on 13 November 2014, have been published.

Presentation themes this year include: National Operational Guidance for incident command (keynote presentation); fire safety; fire protection and building design; firefighter situational awareness and operational response; fire-setting and arson intervention, and firefighter resilience, support and rehabilitation.

More information:

New Publication from BRE

Published: 11 July 2014

External fire spread: Building separation and boundary distances (BR 187, 2nd edition, 16 June 2014) by Richard Chitty

While the risk of fire spread between buildings cannot be eliminated completely, the aim of calculating building separation distances is to ensure that ignition of a building adjacent to a fire is sufficiently delayed to allow the Fire Service to arrive on site and take preventative action. This new June 2014 edition of BR 187, in support of national building regulations, describes methods for calculating adequate space separation between buildings. Several sections, including flame projection from windows, have been expanded. Specifically, this new edition – June 2014:

In addition, the development of boundary distance requirements in the building regulations since World War II is described due to its relevance to redevelopment of sites containing existing buildings.

For more information and to purchase:

Latest Scottish Fire Statistics

Published: 20 November 2013

The latest Fire Statistics published by the Scottish Government:

ASFP Parliamentary Seminar

Published: 4 November 2013

The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) is holding a Parliamentary Seminar on 4 December 2013, in conjunction with the Fire Sector Federation and the All Party Parliamentary Fire & Rescue Group. Understanding Fire Safety in Buildings will consider issues that affect fire safety within the modern built environment and investigate how to ensure that appropriate fire protection is designed, specified, installed and maintained throughout the life of a building.

The one-day seminar, including lunch in the Cholmondeley Room of the House of Lords can be booked for £175 plus VAT.

For booking queries contact Sally Young, email or Tel: 01707 648587

ASFP Regional CPD seminars

Published: 4 November 2013

The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) held the first in a series of regional CPD seminars in Manchester on 26 September 2013. The sell-out event attracted over 130 delegates from across the North West and beyond.

Held in association with the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, the event received universal praise from the audience for providing essential advice on all aspects of passive fire protection; its specification, installation, inspection and maintenance.

Aimed at improving awareness of passive fire protection, Understanding Passive Fire Protection, offered presentations from technical experts from across the fire sector, including the ASFP, BWF, Glass and Glazing Federation and the fire service. It covered all aspects of passive fire protection, including an overview of risks in buildings in relation to passive fire protection; and introductions to fire doors, fire-resistant glazing, structural fire protection, compartment wall penetrations and firestopping.

The events are suitable for anyone who is responsible for specifying or inspecting passive fire protection or those appointing trades that could cause damage to existing fire protection in the process of their work. They should particularly appeal to practising Fire Risk Assessors, Responsible Persons, Local Authorities, Facilities Managers, Building Control, and Care Home Providers.

Upcoming events include:

Further events are planned in Birmingham, Scotland, Belfast and Dublin.

ASFP releases new fire door video for FDSW

Published: 4 November 2013

The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) has released a new online video module on fire doors to mark Fire Door Safety Week (FDSW) held in September 2013. The free to view video explains the vital role played by fire doors in holding back flames and smoke during a fire and describes the typical features that should be considered when checking that a door is correctly installed and maintained.

UK Statistics User Engagement Day

Published: 29 October 2013

25 November 10:00 – 16:45, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5DU, UK

Do you have an opinion on the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) statistics? Are you willing to share it? If so we want to hear from you.

Our user engagement day is your opportunity find out more about the Department’s statistical products, to tell us what you think of them and how you use them.

The day will start with key note speakers followed by a series of three parallel sessions on the different areas of statistics that DCLG produces – including housing, planning, local government finance, fire and deprivation. In each one there will be opportunity to find out more, discuss and provide feedback. This will help us inform our future work programme and ensure we make the best use of our resources.

The event is free, but you must be registered to attend. Please register using the following link which also asks you to indicate which talks you would like to attend in each parallel session Registration is required by 15 November 2013. Programme of the day

Early registration is advised as places are limited.

Any queries should be sent to

Joss Bass

US EPA Evaluates Flame Retardants Including a Safer Substitute for HBCD

Published: 30 September 2013

As part of its ongoing efforts to promote the design and use of safer chemicals, today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft report on alternatives to a flame retardant chemical, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), which has persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic characteristics.

The findings in the report can help manufacturers identify safer alternatives to the use of HBCD in polystyrene building insulation.

“While EPA continues to support much needed reform of the Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is taking steps now to address the public’s concern with certain flame retardant chemicals, including making information available to companies to help them make decisions on safer chemicals,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The conclusions in this report are enabling companies who choose to move away from HBCD to do so with confidence that the potential for unintended consequences is minimized.”

The Design for the Environment (DfE) Alternatives Assessment draft report, developed with stakeholder and public participation, describes the uses of HBCD with an overview of life cycle and exposure information. The report identifies two viable chemical alternatives for use in polystyrene building insulation, in addition to a list of substances that are not currently expected to be viable. One of the alternatives, a butadiene styrene brominated copolymer, is anticipated to be safer than HBCD and is currently in commercial production in the U.S. Alternative materials are also identified in the report.

In March 2013, as part of a broader effort to address flame retardant chemicals, EPA identified 20 flame retardants for risk assessment under the TSCA work plan. This includes developing full risk assessments on four of these chemicals, including HBCD. EPA will use the information from these full assessments to better understand chemicals with similar structures and characteristics. If EPA identifies potential risks, the agency will evaluate and pursue appropriate risk reduction actions. EPA will begin development of these risk assessments later this year and anticipates making the draft risk assessments available for public comment and peer review in 2014.

To further assist companies in selecting safer chemicals, EPA recently launched ChemView, a web-based tool designed to provide the public and decision-makers with a single access point to a wide array of chemical data, like the results of the HBCD alternatives assessment, that can help companies make decisions on developing and using safer chemicals in the products they manufacture.

A copy of the draft HBCD report can be found at:

Information on EPA’s planned risk assessments on flame retardants can be found at:

ChemView can be accessed at:

Fire Industry Association Releases Guidance Document on Fire Safety Signs and Notices

Published: 13 August 2013

In an effort to make fire safety and notices more easily understood to both the fire trade and members of the public, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) is pleased to announce the release of a new Guidance Document on Fire Safety Signs and Notices, available to download for free on

The Guide has been launched to help building managers, facility managers, duty holders, responsible persons and FIA members understand what is required and gives examples of what signs should be used.

Fire safety signs should be reviewed periodically to ensure they continue to support the fire safety strategy for the premises.

The guidance is divided into two parts:

The Fire Exit and Escape Route Signs section explains what duty holder should look out for. For example all evacuation signs should be conspicuous and legible within the environment.

The guide also explains why the size of graphical symbols is so important.

Examples of escape route signs which are standardised to ensure that exit is intuitive and efficient are also included.

The Other Fire Safety Signs and Notices section presents the legal requirements for fire safety information. Including:

The Guide also covers the standards that signs should meet. The design, position and location of the fire safety signs should conform to BS EN ISO 7010 and BS 5499 parts 4 and 10 respectively.

US EPA Warns Against Use of Refrigerant Substitutes That Pose Fire and Explosion Risk

Published: 5 July 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is warning homeowners, propane manufacturers and sellers, home improvement contractors and air conditioning technicians of potential safety hazards related to the use of propane or other unapproved refrigerants in home air conditioning systems.

EPA is currently investigating instances where propane has been marketed and used as a substitute for HCFC-22 (R-22), a refrigerant that is widely used in home air conditioning systems.

Home air conditioning systems are not designed to handle propane or other similar flammable refrigerants. The use of these substances poses a potential fire or explosion hazard for homeowners and service technicians.

EPA is aware of incidents that have occurred both overseas and in the U.S. where individuals have been injured as a result of the use of propane and other unapproved refrigerants in air conditioning systems. We are investigating and will take enforcement actions where appropriate. Other names for these unapproved refrigerants include R-290, 22a, 22-A, R-22a, HC-22a, and CARE 40.

At this time, EPA has not approved the use of propane refrigerant or other hydrocarbon refrigerants in any type of air conditioner. Homeowners and technicians are strongly recommended to limit use of propane or other hydrocarbons to only those appliances specifically designed for these substances and that are properly marked to alert technicians that the equipment contains a flammable substance. EPA has approved the use of propane as a substitute refrigerant for R-22 in industrial process refrigeration systems and in new, stand-alone retail food refrigerators and freezers that are specifically designed to use flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants.

R-22 is being phased out of production and importation under the Montreal Protocol, an environmental treaty ratified by every country in the world designed to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of ozone depleting substances. EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program has already listed numerous refrigerants with improved environmental, health and safety profiles and continues to evaluate other refrigerants that can be used to replace R-22 and other ozone-depleting substances.

More information about the EPA’s SNAP program:

More information about R-22a and alternatives for air conditioning:

IFPO Technical Trophy Competition 2013

Published: 3 July 2013

Institute of Fire Prevention Officers (IFPO), sponsored by Hochiki Europe Limited and supported by Sheila Pantry Associates Limited.

The Institute of Fire Prevention Officers, an international fire prevention and fire safety Institute, is pleased to announce the annual IFPO Technical Trophy Competition, sponsored by Hochiki Europe Ltd, a company distinguished by the experience and expertise of more than 80 years as one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of industrial fire detection products. The competition is for the best Technical Paper or Essay, or Power Point Presentation on any fire related subject by an individual.

The winner will receive:

Entry subjects

To enable participants to formulate an entry, the following subjects are given as a guide.

  1. The Investigation of Fire?
  2. Fire and Disability?
  3. The Improvement of Fire Safety Training?
  4. Fire Equipment – is it just capital Expenditure on the wall?
  5. Fire Risk Assessment?
  6. Fire Prevention Education?

A copy of the General Rules of the Competition is below.

The closing date for entries is Friday 20th September 2013.

The competition is for the best submission by an individual of a technical paper or essay, or Power Point Presentation, on any fire related subject; fire engineering, fire prevention or fire science. It is sponsored by Hochiki Europe Ltd and supported by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd.

The competition is open to any individual employed in the fire safety industry or to members of the general public with an interest in fire safety, and entries are not restricted to residents in the UK, the Competition is open to entries Worldwide.

Submissions from entrants fewer than 18 years of age at the submission closing date must be accompanied by written consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Submissions must be in English, be no longer than 5,000 words and may be accompanied by diagrams or photographs. However, the judges reserve the right to reject any submission that contains excessive or unwarranted use of brand names.

There is no limit to the number of papers that an entrant may submit.

Papers can be submitted as hardcopy by mail, or can be emailed. The submission must be headed IFPO Technical Trophy Competition. Neither the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers; nor Hochiki (Europe) Ltd Limited; nor Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, can be held responsible for the safe arrival of submissions; regrettably, it will not be possible to confirm safe receipt of submissions or return submissions (including photographs and diagrams).

Submissions should be typed at on white A4 paper. Pages should be numbered, and the last page must also include the entrant’s full postal address, email address, and daytime and evening telephone numbers.

The closing date for entries to be received by the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers is Friday, September 20th 2013.


Email Submissions to:


Entrants are responsible for obtaining any permission that may be necessary regarding the taking or inclusion of photographs, diagrams or the content of his or her paper or papers, and submissions will be accepted on the understanding that the entrant has sole ownership of the photographs or diagrams, or has obtained in writing any required permissions, and must state the author’s references for any material they use which is not their own.

By submitting a paper, the entrant is agreeing to indemnify both the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers, Hochiki Europe Limited and Sheila Pantry Associates Limited of any potential claims or resultant actions arising from (but not limited to) breach of copyright, and that any legal action brought will revert to the entrant.

Entrants assign his or her own copyright to any submissions jointly to the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers, Hochiki Europe Limited and Sheila Pantry Associates Limited.

Any submissions, including the winner’s details and photograph, may be used by all the organisations at any time following the competition. Details of the winning submission will be included in an appropriate edition of Fire Safety Professional magazine.

The Institute’s Annual General Meeting will take place in London on 14th November 2013 and the winner will be notified in writing at least four weeks prior to the meeting. However, the winner must be prepared to travel to the event to receive the award entirely at his or her own expense.

A panel of judges will decide on the winning submission and the judges’ decision is final. This panel will comprise members of the Institute’s Executive Council who will recommend the winner to the Directors of Hochiki Europe Limited. Only the winner will be notified.

The competition is not open to employees, past or present, or family members of Hochiki Europe Limited, or to Executive Council members or elected officers of the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers.

The Organisers and Sponsors of this Competition operate an Equal Opportunities Policy.

The Organisers, Sponsors and Supporters of this competition are:

The Winning Entry for 2012 was a paper on Forest Fire Detection Systems by Struan Macgregor, Student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa.

FIA-2013 New Technology Showcase – Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Published: 28 June 2013

There is still time to book a place at the fourth New Technology Showcase event.

This annual event will consist of FIA member companies presenting and displaying a mixture of new products and ideas.

This day is open to FIA members, non FIA members and anyone with an interest in Fire Protection, this could also include insurers, Building facilities managers, architects and Fire Risk assessors.

The products on show cover a wide range of fire protection products and should be of interest to those companies and individuals involved in all aspects of fire protection.

Delegates can attend for the whole day or choose from the wide selection of seminars and exhibitors we have on offer and arrive at their convenience.


FIA Office, Tudor House, Kingsway Business Park, Oldfield Road, Hampton, Middlesex, TW12 2HD


More information:


Michael Gregg, Sales Manager, Fire Industry Association (FIA) |Tel: +44 (0)20 3166 5002 | Email: |

National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) issues a response from Ronnie King to Eric Pickles

Published: 5 June 2013

National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) issues a response from Ronnie King to Eric Pickles’ Statement on Welsh Measure in installing automatic fire sprinklers to save lives, burns and injuries from fire

Ronnie King OBE, O.St. J, QFSM, F.i.Fire E, a former Chief Fire Officer in Mid & West Wales and now Hon. Administrative Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group, and Vice Chairman of the National Fire Sprinkler Network, speaks out in condemnation of DCLG Secretary of State, the Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP, for his attack on the Welsh Government’s Housing Policies, and in particular for his negative remarks about automatic fire sprinklers in saving lives, burns and injuries from fire, whilst reducing property damage and protecting the Environment.

Full text of the letter:

Facing the Future: Findings from the review of efficiencies and operations in fire and rescue authorities in England

Published: 17 May 2013

by Sir Ken Knight CBE QFSM FIFireE

Department for Communities and Local Government, May 2013, ISBN: 978-1-4098-3887-6, 79 pages

Ten care home fires a week prompts London Fire Brigade sprinklers call

Published: 25 April 2013

New figures released by London Fire Brigade reveal that there are more than ten fires a week in the capital’s care homes and sheltered accommodation.

Fire chiefs say the shocking statistics serve as a stark reminder as to why sprinklers should be installed in this type of accommodation and demonstrate why reducing the number of fires in care homes and sheltered housing is a priority for the Brigade.

At the moment, the Brigade believes that the vast majority of care homes and sheltered accommodation in the capital are not fitted with these potentially life saving devices.

Last year (2012/13) saw 540 fires in care homes and sheltered accommodation – the majority housing older people – with two people dying and 26 people injured as a result.

London Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Rita Dexter said: “Older people, as well as people with mental health problems and those with mobility issues, are the group most at risk from fire and we are concerned by the number of vulnerable people like this who are still harmed or killed by fire in places where they should be safe.

“That’s why we want to see all residential care homes fitted with sprinklers. The number and regularity of care home fires that the Brigade attends is clear evidence that builders, developers, local authorities and private providers need to stop ignoring their benefits.”

The latest figures from the Care Quality Commission show there are around 900 care homes for older people or older people and other vulnerable groups in London.

The Brigade believes that sprinklers are a potentially life saving tool that can be effective in stopping fires from spreading and putting them out quickly. By doing this they can also help reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries from fire, particularly in buildings occupied by people with reduced mobility. They also reduce the risks to firefighters.

In Scotland there is already a requirement within Building Standards for all new build residential care buildings to have sprinkler systems installed and London Fire Brigade believes there should be the same level of protection in London.

London Fire Brigade’s Draft Fifth London Safety Plan, which sets out how the Brigade will work over the next three years, includes a target to reduce fires in care homes and sheltered housing by three per cent by March 2016. It also includes a commitment to campaign and promote opportunities for councils and housing providers to provide sprinklers as a cost effective way of saving property and protecting the lives of residents most at risk from fire.

The table below shows the number of care home and sheltered accommodation fires in London and the resulting fire related injuries and deaths over the last five years.

Year Incidents Fire deaths Fire-related injuries





















*preliminary data

About the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan

Consultation on the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan began on Monday 4 March 2013 and is set to end on Monday 17 June 2013.
Members of the public can take part in the consultation at, or by calling 0800 9888 569, by writing to the London Fire Brigade at 169 Union Street, London, SE1 0LL.

Public meetings are being held which cover every London borough. Members of the public are invited to attend the meetings to hear about the proposals and have their say. Details of the meetings can be found on the London Fire Brigade’s website:

The draft Plan outlines a wide range of policies and measures which are intended to improve the safety of Londoners.

Request for Expressions of Interest – Economic Cost of Fire Study

Published: 22 April 2013

The Fire Sector Federation would like to bring to your attention an Open Request for Expressions of Interest to conduct research to develop a new Economic Cost of Fire Model.

The document explains how this new model might expand the current Government model.

At this stage the Federation wishes to explore with other parties how best to undertake this research and introduction of a new Model, discussing feasibility of approaches, alternative ideas, constraints and limitations, etc., as well as costs.

The desired outcome after discussion and agreement between Federation members would be to appoint a contractor to undertake the research.

The project is being led by the Fire Brigades Union on behalf of the Federation.

If this is an area of interest or not a response by 1 May 2013 would be helpful and please feel free to circulate to those who may be interested.

Dennis Davis

Steven Torrie appointed as HM Chief Inspector of the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Published: 4 April 2013

Steven Torrie has been appointed as HM Chief Inspector of the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham announced.

Mr Torrie, the current HM Chief Inspector of the eight existing services, was successful at a recent open competition to appoint an Inspector for the new single service.

Mr Torrie has been in his current role since November 2010 and advised Ministers during the fire reform process. He will be appointed for a further three years from 1 May 2013 and will lead the HM Inspectorate towards a new independent scrutiny function.

As HM Chief Inspector of the SFRS, Mr Torrie will be responsible for planning and leading an annual programme of inspections to provide public assurance about the quality and effectiveness of the new single service. In addition he will provide independent support to the Service and on-going advice to Ministers.

More information:

Saved from the Flames

A History of the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire (SPLF) by Roger Willoughby and John Wilson

Published: 1 April 2013

There have been earlier accounts of the SPLF and its history but none as complete as Saved from the Flames, by Roger Willoughby and John Wilson. It provides a detailed description of the establishment and development of the Society and the characters involved but its particular strength is its account of the various types of the Society’s medals and the long listings of their recipients.

The Society has had a long and varied history since 1836:

Indeed, the Society’s Trustees will soon be considering Case No. 26,919! They applaud the publication of Saved from the Flames, they are delighted that it documents so well the Society’s story, and they congratulate the authors on their 7 years’ research and diligence.

In 2013 the Society is more determined than ever to pursue its principal objective, the recognition of individuals who perform acts of bravery – spontaneous heroism – in rescuing others from fire. It is pleased to record that, in the year to November 2012, the SPLF made awards to 68 fire rescue heroes.

Saved from the Flames
A History of the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire
A4 format, printed cover on boards, pp. xii + 412, 144 tone illustrations, 6 tables. Price £45.00

Saved from the Flames is available from Token Publishing, Orchard House, Duchy Road, Heathpark, Honiton, Devon EX14 1YD |

The Society for the Protection of Life from Fire
Established 1836. Registered Charity No. 207820
c/o 15 Mallow Close, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 5GA | Tel: 01403 258889 | Email: |




Section I. The Society, its origins and history

  1. Fire-fighting and fire rescues
  2. The initial formation of the Society
  3. Reorganisation of the Society
  4. The greatest conductor
  5. The years of growth
  6. Farewell to the conductors
  7. Trying to regroup
  8. Making a modern humane society

Section II. The recognition of bravery

  1. The Society’s awards
  2. Medals
  3. Watches
  4. Testimonials and certificates
  5. Pecuniary awards

Section III. Roll of principal awards (medals and watches)


  1. Known medals
  2. Conductors
  3. Rules for conductors (February 1864)
  4. Fire-escape stations (January 1867)
  5. The Society’s archives
  6. References
  7. Indexes



Lakanal House fire, London verdict results

Published: 31 March 2013

The inquest into the Lakanal House fire in the London borough of Southwark on 3 July 2009 began on 14 January and ended on 28 March 2013. The inquest was held at the Lambeth Assembly Hall, Acre Lane, Brixton.

Read the verdicts into the deaths of six people and the Coroner’s recommendations.

You can also read the daily transcripts of the proceedings.

A document with questions and answers about the Lakanal House inquest is also available.

Sale of the UK Fire Service College completed: The future of the college is secured as Capita take over the world class training facility

Published: 28 February 2013

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis announced on 28 February 2013 the completion of the sale of the Fire Service College to Capita. The minister said that the college has at long last been given the best possible chance to fully realise the huge potential for this world-class asset.

Mr Lewis said:

I believe that by freeing the college from the constraints of government ownership, a private sector owner like Capita will have the freedom to generate new business and provide the innovation and investment which the college needs to safeguard its long term future.

The project to sell the Fire Service College had 3 key objectives in mind, to:

These aims have all been achieved in the sale to Capita.

The sale represents a good deal for the taxpayer. The college has been sold to Capita for an enterprise value of £10 million. In addition, the department will share in any future profits from the development of college land and will receive further revenue from the sale of a number of houses previously part of the college estate.

More importantly, Capita has also committed to invest in a significant programme of infrastructure and transformation and is keen to ensure that training courses deliver improved value for money.

Taken together the sale of the college has the potential to deliver an estimated benefit of £30 million to the taxpayer in the first few years and at the same time secure the college’s future.

Mr Lewis added:

I am particularly pleased that important partners, such as the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Local Government Association, have reacted positively to the sale, and I would like to wish Capita every success in realising their vision for the college.

Andy Parker, Capita’s joint chief operating officer said:

We envisage that the college will become a pioneering facility for the fire service, other emergency services and related markets, such as defence, oil and gas. It will support professional development and host integrated scenario planning and live exercises for major incidents. Capita will also support national standards that will ensure consistency of training delivered at both a local and international level. Capita recognises the college as an establishment that offers great potential in enabling the emergency services to meet the demands of the future.

The Fire Service College has been a trading fund and executive agency of the department. Since it became a trading fund in 1992, it has never been able to pay a dividend out of operating profits. The government’s response to Fire Futures on 12 April 2011 concluded that the college could achieve its full potential only if there was greater involvement from other sectors in its ownership, operation and governance.

The project considered 4 options for the future of the college:

Analysis of the 4 options showed disposal as a going concern to be the best option, and the only 1 which both removes from government ongoing financial risks of ownership of the college and preserves a national training college for the Fire and Rescue Service.

On 22 March 2012 ministers announced that the Fire Service College would be sold as a going concern to a private sector company to continue operating as a training centre. The sale process was launched on 10 April 2012.

Ministers announced Capita as the preferred bidder on 13 December 2012.

A full ‘Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations’ (TUPE) consultation has taken place with union representatives at the college.

Fire Statistics published

Published: 14 December 2012

Fire Statistics Great Britain 2011–12 plus accompanying tables and two supplementary analysis were published on 13 December 2012.

The links to access to the publications:

Fire Minister announces preferred bidder for purchase of Fire Service College

Published: 14 December 2012

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has announced on 13 December 2012 Capita as the preferred bidder for the purchase of the Fire Service College.

The Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said he was happy that the proposed sale of the college to Capita would achieve value for money for the public purse and secure the future of the college.

Mr Lewis said:

“I am delighted that we are making real progress in securing the future of such an important facility. It is vital for the development of the Fire Service College that we put it on a sound footing, giving the private sector a chance to provide innovation and investment that will guarantee the future of a world-class asset.”

To ensure best value for money for taxpayers and enable the college to continue in its role, a number of conditions will be imposed on the proposed sale. These include commitments that:

Councillor Kay Hammond, Chair of the Local Government Association’s fire services management committee, said:

“It is good news that government has listened to the views of the sector about the future of the Fire Service College and that it now looks set to get the outside investment it so badly needs. The Local Government Association and fire authorities will be keen to work with the future owners to help them transform the college into a first-class training facility fit for firefighters in the 21st century.”

Chief Fire Officers’ Association President, Vij Randeniya, said:

“The Chief Fire Officers’ Association welcomes the news that Capita has been selected. It has been a long and intensive process and we are glad that there is now clarity for the Fire Service College. We look forward to working closely with Capita to ensure that the very best provision is available for UK fire and rescue services.”

The government now looks forward to holding constructive discussions with Capita to ensure that the transition from public to private sector is as smooth as possible and expects to complete the sale early in the New Year.

Further information

The Fire Service College is a trading fund and executive agency of the department. Since becoming a trading fund in 1992, it has never been able to pay a dividend out of operating profits. The government’s response to Fire Futures on 12 April 2011 concluded that the college could achieve its full potential only if there was greater involvement from other sectors in its ownership, operation and governance.

The Future Options project considered 4 options for the future of the college:

Analysis of the 4 options showed disposal as a going concern to be the best option, and the only one which both removes from government ongoing financial risks of ownership of the college and preserves a national training college for the fire and rescue service.

Ministers announced on 22 March 2012 that the Fire Service College would be sold as a going concern to a private sector company to continue operating as a training centre.

The sale process was launched on 10 April 2012 and the due diligence phase concluded in October with the receipt of final bids. Best and final offers were received in November. The aim is to complete the sale in early 2013.

Urgent news – Three PhD Studentships available at Centre for Fire and Hazards Science, University of Central Lancashire

Published: 1 November 2012

These exciting projects address one of the major challenges in European fire safety – the replacement of ecotoxic halogenated flame retardants with safe alternatives. There are three studentships associated with this project and applicants will be considered for all three studentships unless indicated otherwise.

Applications are invited for these 3 PhD studentships, funded by the European Union Framework 7. Each studentship is tenable for 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress. Each studentship will cover the cost of tuition fees for UK/EU residents, plus an annual, tax-free bursary of £16,000 (approx €20,000). The projects will start around January 2013.

International applicants may apply, but will be expected to pay the difference between the UK/EU and International Fee Rate (approx £8,000 per year).

Versatile and enthusiastic chemistry/physics/analytical science or engineering graduates are required. Applicants should have or expect to receive a good degree in chemistry or related subject preferably 1st class honours or equivalent.

Requests for an application pack (quoting the reference number RS1208) should be directed to the Graduate Research School Office. Tel: 01772 895082 or email:

The project is led by Dr. Anna A Stec, and Prof. T Richard Hull (editors of Fire Toxicity, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, UK), and both based at UCLan.

CD248 – A consultation on the proposed removal of the requirement for the Health and Safety Executive to approve first aid training and qualifications, a review of the Approved Code of Practice and the content of associated guidance

Published: 1 November 2012

This Consultative Document seeks views on proposals from HSE to amend Regulation 3(2) of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 (S.I. 1981 No. 917) as amended and is intended to build upon the views sought in stakeholder consultation conducted by HSE on the proposed amendment earlier in the year. The amendments are in response to a recommendation in Professor Löfstedt’s report “Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent review of health and safety legislation”, and relate to the regulation of first-aid at work.

HSE is consulting on the proposed removal of the requirement for HSE to approve first aid training and qualifications and a review of the associated Approved Code of Practice and the content of revised guidance to support employers with the changes. Specifically, HSE seeks views on what guidance would be useful to businesses when assessing what they need in terms of first aid provision for their particular circumstances; and in the selection of training providers.

These changes are part of HSE’s work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand what they need to do to comply with health and safety law, and will be of interest to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors.

This consultation began on 22 October 2012 and ends on 3 December 2012. Responses should be sent by 3 December 2012:

Andy McGrory, Health and Safety Executive, 5SG Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, Liverpool L20 7HS | Fax: 0151 951 3098 | Email:

‘Savage’ fire and rescue cuts put lives at risk

Published: 1 November 2012

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is raising the alarm over unprecedented risks to public safety posed by ‘deep and dangerous’ cuts to the fire service. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, is urging the public to join firefighters in defending stations threatened with closure. ‘The public has already lost around 1,500 frontline firefighters since 2010, despite David Cameron’s hollow eve-of-election promise that there would be no cuts to the firefighting frontline,’ he said.

The FBU leader warned a continuation of the government’s ‘reckless austerity drive’ could see frontline firefighter jobs slashed by 20 per cent. ‘People deserve to have their lives, homes and businesses protected. As firefighters, we have a duty to spell out to the public the risks of ever-deepening cuts,’ he said. ‘More cuts will mean slower response times to emergencies, putting lives, homes and businesses at greater risk. Response times are almost two minutes slower on average than a decade ago. If there is no local fire station, response times will be even longer. Delays cost lives. That’s why people should make sure they join with firefighters to campaign to keep stations threatened with closure open.’

FBU news release

The Emergency Services Show 2012 – interoperability is key for future developments in ambulance services

Wednesday and Thursday 21-22 November at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry

Published: 1 November 2012

Recent events, such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the upcoming 2012 Olympics, are opening the discussion once again around the importance of interoperability within the blue light services. Interoperability, although not a new term, has become particularly prominent recently following discussions in late 2011 that brought together professionals from the fire and rescue, ambulance and police services.

As part of the recently announced funding for the Government’s localised projects to improve national resilience, 44 fire and rescue services throughout England put forward plans for future collaboration with another fire and rescue or emergency authority. Bringing the focus back to local communities and local accountability, rather than requiring firefighters to reach targets set by central government, represents a new challenge for fire and rescue services. Knowledge and understanding of each other’s systems, including use and procurement of equipment, communications and training exercises paves the way for improved collaboration between the blue light services.

The Emergency Services Show 2012 is the ideal place to explore new ideas and initiatives in delivering efficient and effective emergency planning, as well as networking with like-minded professionals to discuss collaboration, ideas and initiatives focused on improving public safety.

With over 4400 visitors attending last year’s event, The Emergency Services Show 2012 will be the key event for anyone involved in emergency planning, response or recovery, both in the UK and abroad. This year, the event will take place on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd November at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry.

To register for your free visitor pass or to learn more about attending The Emergency Services Show 2012, please visit

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service strike gold

Published: 1 November 2012

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has received a gold award at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2012.

The RoSPA awards are presented to organisations that have excellent health, safety and welfare management systems in place and can show continuous success in reducing accidents among employees.

The accolade is the eighth Gold Award for the service which has seen the total number of work-based accidents reduced from 208 in 2004 to 58 in 2012, a 72 per cent reduction. While vehicle-related accidents have dropped from 115 in 2006 to 46 in the last five years, a 60 per cent reduction.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager, Dave Orr, said: “Together the management and union representatives are committed to protecting the health and well-being of all of our employees. The safety of our staff is of paramount importance and we are always looking at ways in which we can improve processes to protect them and the public that we serve.

“We have continued our commitment of providing dedicated health and safety themed training to all staff by introducing further training to corporate and control room staff. This has been improved further by delivering bespoke training packages which are directly relevant to specific areas of the back office functions. Health and safety training initially given to operational staff heightened their hazard perception and resulted in a continued reduction in accidents during operational activities. Building on this success it was decided to deliver similar training to all staff. This is paying dividends, as people are thinking more about their safety and it has helped us to significantly reduce the number of accidents at work.”

The latest figures published (April 2012 – June 2012) show that the number of accidents involving Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue staff has reduced significantly again in the last quarter statistics. The number of incidents fell to the lowest ever number of five accidents. Vehicle-related accidents also fell sharply to the lowest recorded figure of two minor damaged vehicles.

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling said: “We are committed to providing a highly effective emergency response service without compromising the safety of our staff. Winning the RoSPA Gold Award for the eighth time shows how highly we value the health and safety of all of our employees and is fantastic recognition for the teams who work with our staff to encourage a happy, healthy and safe workforce.”

David Rawlings, RoSPA Awards Manager, said: “The RoSPA Awards programme provides well-deserved recognition for the winners and spurs on other organisations to raise their standards of accident and ill health prevention. We congratulate Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service on its success and encourage it, and all our other winners, to remain committed to safety and health, an approach that is well recognised to be good for workers and the bottom line.”

New LFEPA chair set to make first official impact

Published: 3 July 2012

The newly-elected chair of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority says he is looking forward to the challenges ahead as he prepared to officially head his first Authority meeting 21 June 2012.

In his first interview since taking the role James Cleverly exclusively discussed, with FIRE Magazine, the key issues he expects to tackle in his new role:

Among the topics the Authority will also be discussing this week are the fire capital grant bids for the next two years, procurement of vehicles, the future standards regime and plans for the London Fire Brigade Museum.

The museum was given a temporary reprieve in March at LFEPA’s final meeting before the London mayoral and assembly elections.

Now one of Cleverly’s first acts will be to chair the discussion as to whether to close the museum on 1 September or to keep it open until the fire brigade’s Southwark Training Centre is sold or a new home for the historic collection is found.

In a report prepared for the meeting fire authority bosses have revealed details of talks it has held with other organisations about finding a new home for the museum.

These include a possible joint bid with the Museum of London to accommodate the collection in the cultural space at Berkeley Homes’ One Tower Bridge development at Potters Fields.

Other talks have been held with Hackney Council about moving the collection to Clissold House and there have also been discussions about joining forces with the Imperial War Museum, the RAF Museum and the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

Subscribe to FIRE magazine to read a full in-depth interview with James Cleverly in the July/August issue.

Federation supports research into high rise safety

Published: 3 July 2012

The Passive Fire Protection Federation (PFPF) has announced its support for a research project that aims to study structural safety in high rise buildings. The project, awarded under the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust’s 2012 Travelling Fellowship scheme, will take researcher Lem Kerks to North America in September/October this year.

The project will concentrate on structural passive fire protection features, wind and earthquake design, and mitigation of explosion and blast incidents in high rise buildings. It will also investigate structural issues related to Fire Service work, including means of escape and firefighting access and facilities in high rise buildings. This aspect of the project comes at a fortuitous time, since UK fire services are currently reviewing their methods and procedures for emergency incidents involving tall buildings.

Specific research interests include investigating: steel-framed building configurations, and the fire protection arrangements for the steelwork; the extent of protection provided in North America for externally-glazed curtain walling systems which may be subjected to blast waves; and general passive fire protection arrangements for building elements related to routes which form means of escape.

Mr Kerks has chosen six centres to visit in North America. These include New York, Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oklahoma, with the visit to each centre taking approximately one week. Mr Kerks also plans to visit a range of UK passive fire protection manufacturers prior to September.

“I am happy to include any research gathering related to this project which members of the PFPF request. I am particularly interested in expanding my contact base with passive fire protection manufacturers operating in the above North American cities. Any support that PFPF members can give in this regard would be much appreciated,” he said.

Mr Kerks has been involved with fire training for 25 years and is currently senior lecturer in fire safety studies at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire. He has long been a supporter of the passive fire protection sector and worked with members of the Association of Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) and the College to develop passive fire protection exhibits in the building studies room at the College, some years ago. This facility, still used today, has been seen by most fire safety officers from the UK who have undertaken studies there.

Each year, Travelling Fellowships are awarded to British citizens by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, in memory of Sir Winston Churchill. Their aim is to bring back knowledge and experience from overseas travel for the benefit of UK professions and communities. Support of Mr Kerk’s application was jointly undertaken by the Fire Service College and the PFPF.

For further information and guidance on fire safety, visit

To discuss the research project or provide input, contact Lem Kerks on

IFE and Pavilion launch new journal

Published: 3 July 2012

A brand new journal by the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) entitled International Fire Professional is to be launched this summer by FIRE Magazine publisher, Pavilion Publishing and Media.

The Institution’s new journal will feature contributions from branches around the world, technical perspectives from leading fire engineers and special features on latest developments in global fire engineering.

Pavilion Publishing and Media is producing the journal on behalf of the Institution and will supplement the quarterly publication with a comprehensive online service which will include monthly newsletters to all members.

The website will also include news and feature articles, videos, blogs and live coverage of Institution-related events.

The Institution of Fire Engineers’ Chairman Peter Holland said: “We welcome the partnership with Pavilion Publishing and Media, well known for the outstanding magazine FIRE. We are keen to communicate more effectively with our members and therefore having our own magazine again will play a key role in this strategy.

“Pavilion will also be assisting us by producing a monthly e-newsletter in addition to the quarterly journal for members of the Institution. As the IFE continues to expand its membership and influence globally I am confident International Fire Professional will be of enormous help.”

If you would like to discuss contributing to the new journal contact Editor Andrew Lynch on 01273 434951 or email

The Institution of Fire Engineers, IFE House, 64-66 Cygnet Court, Timothy’s Bridge Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 9NW | Tel: +44 (0)1789 261463 | Fax: +44 (0)1789 296426 | Web:

One school fire every day of term prompts sprinklers call

Published: 14 January 2012

New figures released January 2012 by London Fire Brigade show that last year there was one fire every three days in the capital’s schools, colleges and nurseries – the equivalent of one fire for nearly every school day.

Fire chiefs say these statistics should serve as a stark reminder of why sprinklers need to be installed in education buildings.

Last year there were 36 arson attacks on London’s schools, colleges and nursery buildings and a further 113 accidental fires. Nationally every year, one in eight schools suffer a serious arson attack and the cost of school fires is around £65 million, with London accounting for over a third of that figure.

As well as the huge financial cost, a fire that destroys a school or college causes massive disruption to students, teachers and families and can have a devastating effect on the wider community and the capital’s economy.

Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Community Safety Committee, Cllr Susan Hall, said: “The number and regularity of school fires we attend is yet more evidence, if any were needed, that builders, developers, local authorities, governing bodies and other private providers must stop ignoring the huge benefits of sprinklers.

“As well as making sure the children in their care are protected, those responsible for our schools should recognise that sprinklers can dramatically reduce damage by stopping fires from spreading so quickly. This would help to protect the significant amount of public money invested in our school buildings.”

Last year London Fire Brigade revealed that almost two thirds of new or refurbished schools planned for the capital are still not being built with potentially life-saving sprinklers installed. This is despite government guidelines introduced three years ago recommending that, in most cases, they should be fitted.

Fire chiefs are consulted on plans for new schools and projects to refurbish existing ones, and according to the Brigade’s own figures, six out of ten schools that have proposed building work in the last three years were not going to install sprinklers.

New qualification to help tackle $630 billion worldwide cost of fires

Published: 14 January 2012

A new vocational qualification has been developed to help reduce the annual worldwide cost of fire damage of around $630 billion.

Safety, health and environmental examination board NEBOSH will officially launch the International Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management at the Intersec trade fair in Dubai on 15th January 2012.

Thousands of people die and many more are injured throughout the world as a result of fires each year. A large number of these deaths and injuries occur in workplaces and often result from failure to manage the risks of fire. As well as the cost in terms of lives, fires also have a huge economic impact. According to the World Fire Statistics Centre – the annual worldwide cost of fire is around 1% of global GDP (Gross Domestic Product), or around $630 billion(*). A large proportion of businesses never recover following a fire.

“This latest qualification will help raise standards of fire risk management in workplaces across the world,” said NEBOSH Chief Executive, Teresa Budworth. “Our qualification will provide safety practitioners, managers and others with the know-how and skills to significantly improve fire safety where they work.”

The qualification covers the causes of fire in workplaces, fire prevention and protection techniques. To achieve the qualification students will need to carry out a fire risk assessment in their own workplace.

The International Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management is based on International standards and good practice from organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), International Code Council (ICC) and the Confederation of Fire Protection Association Europe (CFPA-Europe).

For more information on this or any other NEBOSH qualification, visit

(*) Annual global GDP in 2010 was $63 trillion, according to the World Bank.


Contact: Julia Whiting, Communications Co-ordinator, NEBOSH | Tel: + 44 (0)116 263 4724 | Mobile: +44 (0)7850 204072 | Email: |

World’s most advanced crowd simulation and evacuation software

Published: 14 January 2012

Scientists at the University of Greenwich have released the next generation of their evacuation and crowd simulation software, buildingEXODUS. Professor Ed Galea, Director of the university’s Fire Safety Engineering Group and the software developer, reports.

The crowd simulation software, created by the university’s Fire Safety Engineering Group, is already one of the world’s leading design tools for simulating evacuations of people from buildings in both normal and emergency conditions. The latest release – known as Version 5.0 – has new capabilities that will enable building engineers to perform the most realistic desktop simulations that have ever been possible, predicting not only how individual people interact with each other and the built environment, but also how they can be debilitated by hazards such as heat, smoke and toxic gases.

The university’s Fire Safety Engineering Group is a world leader in computational fire engineering. It has unparalleled expertise in aircraft, building, ship and rail evacuation and fire modelling, with its team of experts undertaking a unique combination of leading-edge research, large-scale human factors trials and practical real world consultancy. Fire Safety Engineering Group’s projects have included studies of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, the World Trade Centre evacuation and the 7 July London bombings.

The latest software, Version 5.0, draws extensively on data and experience captured from experiments and real-life incidents. Its human behaviour ‘submodel’ includes rules governing the often complex behaviour of people affected by smoke in fire situations and the use of signage in an emergency. It also examines the psychological aspects governing how, and why, people select an escalator or an adjacent staircase as their escape route.
BuildingEXODUS Version 5.0 provides building engineers with a sophisticated and powerful analysis tool to simulate and analyse crowd movement and evacuation.

The new capabilities are a direct response to needs identified by our clients around the world. They represent a quantum leap in the sophistication offered by buildingEXODUS, and will help to maintain the software as one of the most advanced crowd simulation packages available.

The arrival of this level of sophistication on the desktop means that building engineers can test more designs in less time, giving them the most accurate, and extensively researched, resources for organising the evacuation of buildings.

Fire Safety Engineering Group is part of the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Greenwich. The group’s other products, which are also leading design tools used around the world, are airEXODUS, designed specifically for evacuating aircraft, and SMARTFIRE, a fire simulation software used by fire engineers.

Since its launch in 1996, the buildingEXODUS package has been used by engineering consultancies, architects, research laboratories, regulatory authorities, police forces, fire brigades and universities in 37 countries.

The package has also been used to model the evacuation capabilities of a wide range of proposed or existing buildings and crowd situations, from the Love Parade disaster analysis to the Beijing Olympics, and from the World Trade Centre investigation to the Statue of Liberty redevelopment.

The software is used in design analysis for underground stations, high-rise buildings, hospitals, shopping complexes, school buildings, museums, theatres, airport terminals, sports stadia, external crowd events – in short, for virtually any type of situation involving the gathering or movement of people.

For more information on buildingEXODUS, visit the Fire Safety Engineering Group website at:

FIG UK members from the Kent Fire and Rescue Service win Research Excellence Award

Published: 24 November 2011

For the first time the FIRE Magazine/Gore Research Excellence Award has been split between two winners: David Wales and Owain Thompson from Kent Fire and Rescue Service, and Mark Hobbs of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

David and Owain are FIG UK members.

This year's Fire Related Research and Developments (RE11) event from the Fire Service College saw a record number of entries for the FIRE Magazine/Gore Research Excellence Awards for best overall research project and presentation with a prize of £1,000, and poster display with a prize of £250. W. L. Gore and Associate's Product Specialist Dave Frodsham presented the awards with FIRE Editor Andrew Lynch at the close of the seminar held on 17 November 2011.

RE11 is an annual event organised by the Institution of Fire Engineers and the Fire Service College, and has been supported by the FIRE and Gore awards for the last five years.

Speaking on behalf of the panel at the presentation, FIRE Editor Andrew Lynch said that many of the entrants should consider resubmitting next year as they were of a very high standard, although in the early stages of development. The panel also faced a dilemma in not being able to choose between the two eventual winners, so opted for the joint award.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service's David Wales and Owain Thompson presented on Human Behaviour in Dwelling Fires: A Qualitative Insight describing Kent's ground-breaking pilot study. East Sussex's Mark Hobbs paper, A Journey in Fire Investigation: Achieving Wider Outcomes focussed on fires involving electrical intakes and has already led to improvements in the industry.

Human Behaviour in Dwelling Fires

David Wales and Owain Thompson's presentation outlined what is currently known about human behaviour in fire, notably is traditional focus on public, commercial and industrial spaces and the gap in knowledge that exists on human behaviour in accidental dwelling fires (ADFs). The presenters argued that it is necessary for fire services to develop a generalised understanding of occupant behaviour and motivations in ADFs. They identified and outlined some of the circumstances and motivating factors which may result in clear differences between human behaviour in home fires compared to fires in other public spaces.

The speakers addressed how, in order to begin to understand occupant behaviours and motivations, Kent Fire and Rescue Service undertook a qualitative pilot study of those suffering injuries in ADFs. The reasons behind adopting a qualitative approach were explained along with the associated benefits and drawbacks. The presentation drew attention to the fact that although the pilot included only a small sample size, its value lies in the depth and richness of the data obtained.


Research award winners give back to charity

The joint winners of FIRE magazine's Research Excellence Award have both decided to honour the spirit in which their research was conducted by choosing to donate their prize money to two deserving charities.

Both pieces of research, Human Behaviour in Dwelling Fires by David Wales and Owain Thompson of Kent FRS and A Journey in Fire Investigation by Mark Hobbs were designed to reduce the number of injuries and deaths in fires and the two charities they have given too also seek to improve fire safety and recovery from fire-related injuries.

David and Owain donated their prize fund to the Queen Victoria Hospital at East Grinstead and the Children's Burns Trust while Mark combined his money with a donation from the family of a lady that died following a fire in an electrical intake (£1000) and a matched donation from the Electrical Safety Council, to further promote electrical fire safety.

The winners of the award are particularly pleased to have achieved this recognition as they both work in the field of fire investigation and through the South East Fire Investigation Group (SEFIG) already work together to promote the benefits and wider outcomes of fire investigation to their local communities and the general fire sector.

It is anticipated that both Kent and East Sussex will continue to work closely together with East Sussex's Black Museum website being used to help facilitate Kent FRS in gathering further information for research into human behaviour before the findings from this research are published on the site.

'Black Museum' contains case histories from real fires that provide details of the causes and circumstances of the fire and will often include a powerful impact statement from those that were affected.