Last Updated on 22 September 2022.
This week we’re talking about heroes.
Not the Cadbury’s chocolates. Not the American sci-fi series. Not even Superman.
I’m talking about the sidekicks and underdogs in the hero world: the underrated dark horses that are behind the shiny, pretty things that’s caught our attention in the first place.
Like these guys:
Withour Q, there’d have been no invisible Aston Martins or ski pole rocket launchers to save the day for 007…
There definitely wouldn’t have been seven books if Hermione wasn’t involved…
And Frodo would have been Shelob’s midnight snack if it wasn’t for Samwise.
When it comes to safety…there’s plenty of underdogs.
And today, I’m giving them their well-deserved spotlight to help you master your safety, compliance and site management.
I had toyed with the idea of calling them “hacks”, but decided against it, because it insinuates they’re shortcuts. And, unfortunately, when it comes to safety, there isn’t a fast-track queue to the front like there is at Thorpe Park.
So, the first of this week’s tips that doubles up as one of our trusted safety superheroes is…
The Passive Protector, a.k.a. Fire Doors
They are not just doors. No, fire doors are an engineered safety device designed to spring into action should the moment strike. Hence, passive – mainly because, they just sit there.
The science of a well-manufactured fire door is pretty complex, which I won’t bore you with. But, there are many component parts which all need to be on top form should a fire break out. (Like the strips down the side, called intumescent strips, which expand to seal the door shut to help keep the smoke out.)
These doors are given grades, such as FD30 (which means they’re fire resistant for up to 30 minutes) – and they go through some pretty intense testing before they’re given that badge of honour. It’s quite the responsibility to take on, you know!
Following Grenfell in 2017, one of the building surveyor’s findings was the misuse of fire doors; where they had, for instance, been locked or had their seals painted over – rendering moot their use.
Now, like our sidekicks, they won’t get any screen time without their hero, the central star – which is you: the Responsible Person.
Without you maintaining them every six months, they’re prone to wear and tear, damage and/or defects which all affect their functionality and ability to save the day when it’s called upon for them to do so.
Action 1: Check – when were your fire doors last inspected?
Action 2: Give whoever’s propping them open some stick.
Next up it’s…
The Electrical Striker, a.k.a. Fixed Wire Testing
Otherwise called: Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
Nearly everything we do is powered by electricity, making them a supreme underdog! And like everything else, it can deteriorate or malfunction.
It’s typically due for most commercial premises (and for landlords’ domestic dwellings) every 5 years.
Electrical faults are a common starter of fires, which can easily be avoided or pre-empted by catching them before they become a problem with an EICR.
Some people double up with Thermal Testing, to detect heat on distribution boards and outlets, which is another great aspect of Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM).
But the fundamental is, without sounding like a gynecologist: get tested.
Action 1: Head over to your distribution/fuse board – is there a sticker on it? Check the date on it or have a hunt for your last report to see if it’s out of date.
And, last but not least on this list is…
The Citizen Fire Fighter, a.k.a. Fire Safety Training
Now, let me caveat this first by saying by no means should everyday people take on the tasks of a fire fighter. They’re highly skilled and thoroughly trained in what they do, so undergoing fire safety training will not put you on par with a fully-fledged fire fighter.
But that doesn’t mean you should forgo Fire Safety Training…
Knowledge is power, which you may have heard us say before, and we’ll keep repeating ourselves because it’s a hugely important factor when it comes to both prevention and response.
If you’re responsible for a premises in any capacity, you should have this one down – not just for your designated staff members, such as fire wardens or fire marshals – but for everyone.
And it’s not just about knowing the hazards to look out for or how to respond in the event of a fire; it’s also about common sense applications that help you from hurting yourself, others or obstructing the clear course of safety.
Take, for example, CO2 fire extinguishers: best known for fighting electrical fires.
The nozzle or horn of a CO2 extinguisher, if held whilst in use, could cause severe cold burns.
What PowerPoint presentation could tell you that? (By the way, if that is the only way you are receiving or delivering your Fire Safety Training, our eyebrows are raised right now…You need to learn how to use your extinguishers – they’re not just decorative!)
Action 1: Ask one of your fire wardens/marshals how confident they’d feel picking up a fire extinguisher to fight a live fire
Here’s to our fire safety underdogs! There are tons more, but these 3 made the cut for today’s top picks of what’s often overlooked.
If you’ve got a safety hero you think definitely should’ve made the shortlist, let us know in the comments 👍
Thanks for reading!
And if you need any help with your fire safety strategy, don’t be a stranger – the WFP team are here to help!