The newsletter of the Fire Information Group UK (FIG UK)
Apologies for no meeting this September 2023
The following news items should be of interest, if you have any news to share with FIG UK MEMBERS do please send to Sheila firstname.lastname@example.org who will share with the FIG UK membership.
Did you know that your heart is a muscular organ and beats about 100,000 times a day?
This varies depending on your level of fitness, but the bottom line is it has a BIG job to do. Although the cardiac muscle isn’t under voluntary control like the skeletal muscles in your body (you don’t have to tell your heart to beat!), it still requires working out.
Here we share some tips on how to get started working out your heart.
How do you start your day? Each day tends to continue as it starts sometimes… A great way to work out your heart is to partake in some heart-pumping aerobic exercise, which is basically anything that gets your heart pumping faster. Lots of different activities fall into this type of workout such as brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, playing tennis, and many fitness classes such as boxercise or Zumba. Resistance training also contributes to a healthy heart, including working out with free weights or on weight machines. You can even do hand weight exercises while sat at your desk.
Doctors recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity, aerobic exercise per week. This could look like 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or maybe some longer sessions on fewer days. In addition to aerobic exercise, aim for two sessions of resistance training per week. If you don’t already take part in exercise, start small, as any exercise is better than none. You can gradually work up to the recommended amount.
More information: https://www.bhf.org.uk
Training Webinar: Chemical Risks Training – 10 October 2023, 10.00 - 14.00 CET
This webinar explains why and how we should take chemicals seriously using informal and fun training posters. We will dive into hazards, effects and measures to manage chemical risks at work.
These “Layman with a twist” training posters uses familiar words, pictures and situations to help understand chemical risks. Each of these training posters has a part that is funny and laid-back – but there is a twist: they are somehow related to chemicals.
The webinar trainers will guide participants to identify the relation to chemicals using dialog and analogies. Once the relation is revealed, we will proceed with a more serious presentation of the chemical issue.
- Better understand chemical risks and the main types of protection and prevention measures
- Identify challenges of communicating and teaching about chemical risks
- Identify good and bad practices in OSH training
- Get familiarized with the “Layman with a twist” posters as an alternative training tool
Lothar Lieck, Senior Project Manager, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), Bilbao, Spain
Raluca Stepa, Head of the Chemical and Biological Risks Laboratory, National Institute for Research and Development on Occupational Safety and Health “Alexandru Darabont” (INCDPM) – Bucharest, Romania
Registration deadline: 8th of October 2023
More information: https://niva.org/course/informal-chemical-risks-training
New Factsheets Available for Schools Facing Climate Change
Get Tips for School Staff and Parents for Creating Cleaner Air and Cooling Centers at Schools
EPA’s latest factsheets are designed to help schools and communities that are facing the consequences of climate change.
As extreme weather events such as wildfires and heatwaves overlap with other stressors such as infectious diseases like COVID-19, it’s important for schools and their partners to work together to mitigate the health risks to students and the community.
Children are uniquely vulnerable to extreme heat and wildfire smoke, because of their size, physiology, and factors that include playing outdoors and having less control over their environment and exposure to harm.
About the Factsheets
The Schools as Cleaner Air and Cooling Centers: Tips for Facility Managers, Principals, Teachers, and Parents and Caregivers factsheets discuss a variety of approaches for mitigating the health consequences of these natural disasters such as:
- HVAC and maintenance considerations
- Recommendations for planning and partner coordination
- Emergency checklists
- A suite of additional resources
More information: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USEPAIAQ/bulletins/3709a93
ChargeSafe – Charging your e-Bike or e-Scooter
The battery in your electric bike or electric scooter could be putting you at risk. Learn about what you can do to protect yourself and others. e-Scooters and e-Bikes. London Fire Brigade attended over 116 fires involving e-Scooters and e-Bikes in 2022.
The majority of fires related to e-bikes and e-scooter have happened in homes. These fires are often caused when charging batteries.
Please pay special attention to bike conversion kits. Do not attempt to modify or tamper with the battery. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Reduce the risk of overheating
- Batteries can get warm during their use. Allow them to cool down before attempting to re-charge.
- Batteries should always be charged on hard flat surfaces where heat can dissipate.
- Batteries can also pose a risk if they have been damaged, so try to ensure they are not getting knocked around while in use or while being carried.
- Batteries should also never be exposed to extremes of temperature.
Follow the instructions
- Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when charging
- Never leave it charging unattended or charge it while you are asleep.
- You should always make sure you unplug your charger once it’s finished charging.
- Always use the correct charger for your batteries and buy any replacements from a reputable seller.
Where to charge your batteries
- Never block your escape route with e-bikes or e-scooters
- Store and charge them somewhere away from a main through route or exit
- Make sure you and your family have an escape plan in place in the event of a fire. Always call 999, never try to fight the fire yourself
Using your e-bikes or e-scooter
In 2021 Transport for London (TfL) banned e-scooters from London’s transport network. This is due to a number of fires on the network involving these vehicles. This means you’re unable to take your electric personal vehicles on any TfL service. You can read TfL’s full guidance on e-scooters on their site.
Not all personal electric vehicles, such as e-scooters and e-unicycles are road legal in the UK. This means you can be fined by the police for using them on the road in the UK. Always check to see if you can use your vehicle on public roads.
More information: https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/lithium-batteries
HSE publishes fire safety guidance for building planning stage
Advice on the fire safety matters that should be considered by local planning authorities, applicants and other technical specialists involved in high rise residential and educational accommodation buildings at the planning stage, has been published by the Health and Safety Executive.
Planning Gateway One established the HSE as a statutory consultee for developments that include a “relevant building” i.e. a building that contains two or more dwellings or educational accommodation and is 18 m or more – or seven storeys or more – high.
Planning Gateway One was introduced in June 2021 and is intended to ensure that applicants and decision makers consider planning issues relevant to fire safety at the earliest possible stage, with the aim of producing “better schemes which fully integrate thinking on fire safety”. The HSE’s guidance continues: “Considering fire safety at the planning stage allows proposals to be assessed when they are still on paper and can be more easily changed. Intervening at the planning stage avoids poor fire safety design from being included and needing to be rectified once the development is under construction or built.”
Applicants also have to submit a prescribed Fire Safety Form as part of an application for full planning permission for a development.
Planning Gateway One covers the whole of England and is not regionalised like some other statutory consultees, with meetings held virtually. Once the request for advice has been administered, the case is allocated to one of the Fire Safety Information Assessors – qualified fire specialists who provide advice to the local planning authority or pre-application advice.
Fire safety planning
In its published advice, the HSE says that fire safety design can have a profound effect on planning matters. For example, the number and configuration of escape stairs and protected routes will usually be significant factors that determine the shape, appearance and layout of the development, and how it relates to and affects neighbouring properties and uses.
This in turn will impact on firefighter access, access for fire appliances and access to water for firefighting.
The level of detail contained in a full planning application varies but will usually include:
- Vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian access in and around the site
- Access arrangements for buildings in a development
- Details of car and cycle parking provision
- Basic landscaping details such as areas of hard and soft landscaping and paths
- Details of the external appearance of the building including balconies
The detail contained will also usually include the location and number of residential units and their access arrangements, and the location of:
- Firefighting shafts, lifts and escape stairs
- Ancillary accommodation such as plant rooms, refuse stores and cycle stores
- Vents and ducts for smoke control systems
- Non-residential uses (e.g. gyms, retail units, cafes, and their access arrangements)
The way these factors manifest and interact with each other will influence fire safety design, and are matters that will be fixed if planning permission is granted. The objective is to avoid poor fire safety design being “baked in” at the planning stage.
The assessment will generally cover the impact on land use planning of the means of escape, fire service access and facilities and external fire spread. HSE will focus on fire safety design matters that will impact on access, layout of the development, shape and appearance of buildings, landscaping, cycle and car parking provision, and use including space available for residential units.
More information: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg168.htm
See also: https://www.firesectorfederation.co.uk