Total Fire Safety

There is a risk of fire in every building that is designed, and it is accepted that complete safety from fire is an impossible goal. The fire risks inherent in different building types are normally highlighted only when a particularly serious fire attracts public attention. Such major fires underline the importance of building design and remind architects of their responsibility to minimise the risk of fires in buildings.

Adopting a ‘Total Fire Safety’ approach will improve fire safety outcomes,

  • making premises safer from fire
  • reducing risk to people, property and the environment

What works to reduce the risk from fire?

The key to this is aiming to achieve goals beyond just life safety. This must be the minimum standard to stop the spread of fires leaving businesses, lives and livelihoods in its wake.

“Total Fire Safety”

Managing the Risk

Regulatory code compliance is no safety guarantee, you have to be a competent fire safety specialist to apply codes and regulations properly and understand where the regulation has come from in the first place. A good fire safety risk assessment needs to look further into aspects like quality of asset, functionality of space and continuity of function.

Managing the hidden risk (risks that you don’t see)

Managing risk involves changing the behaviours of people, including adherence to fire safety legislation and fire prevention and protection. Good Fire Safety Risk Assessment leads to Total Fire Safety keeping people safe and fire risk low.

Fire Safety Risk Assessment

There is often the assumption that if you follow prescriptive guidance you automatically get a good risk assessment and a safe building. It is essential that the assessment of fire risk is competent and is based on sufficient knowledge to do so.

Total Fire Safety provides an opportunity to move forward the management responsibility beyond the legal requirement for Fire Safety Risk Assessment.

This means we need to consider all the fire safety goals (not only the minimum required for compliance with legislation) and a coordinated approach for achieving Total Fire Safety is required throughout the implementation of fire prevention and protection measures and building operation.

It is critical that a risk control plan knowingly addresses the risks and that employers understand and take heed of the Fire Safety Risk Assessment outcomes and ensure that adequate fire prevention and protection measures are taken to ensure Total Fire Safety in any building.