Fire Safety Training

The Fire Precautions Workplace Regulations (Amended) 1999 calls for staff to receive training on fire safety at least every 12 months. However, you would expect that everyone would put a greater emphasis on fire safety - after all, fires can kill.

In the past, fire disasters have repeatedly occurred which could have been prevented. Investigations showed that 'fire' was a danger which people considered, but often believed that it only happened to others. Hence, in many cases, no measures were taken to prevent it or limit its effect.

Eventually laws were passed to force employers and designers to produce safer workplaces and safety procedures. Nowadays, Health and Safety Laws in the form of Acts and Regulations are constantly being produced and updated to make use of advances in knowledge and technology.

There are several laws which govern fire safety, the main ones are as follows: -

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The main legal requirement for safety is encompassed in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1997. This is a non- specific, general Act.

Being non- specific allows the Act to be applicable in a wide range of workplaces, practices and situations.

Under Section 2 of the Act it is the duty of an employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees, in particular: -

Providing and maintaining safe plant and equipment.

Ensure safe handling, storage, maintenance and transport of articles and substances.

Provide necessary information, instruction, training and supervision.

Section 7 of the Act places duties on the employee in particular: -

Employees must take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions.

Employees must co-operate with their employer so far as is necessary to enable the employer to comply with his duties under the Act.

Section 8 also makes it an offence to intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided for health, safety or welfare.

The penalties for getting things wrong can be considerable. Minor breaches can attract fines up to £5000 and 6 months imprisonment. If heard in the Crown Court the financial penalty can be unlimited with up to 2 years imprisonment. And don't forget it's not just the employer that can be prosecuted!

At first sight the Health and Safety at Work Act might not seem to be applicable to fire safety, but it is - it's as applicable to fire safety as it is to, say, a drilling machine.


Fire services can provide tailor-made fire training courses for most types of business, covering the following basics :

  • Fire cause and prevention, and how to correctly select an extinguisher for a given type of fire.
  • How fires start.
  • The Fire Triangle.
  • Fire extinguisher types - colours, both old and new types. Fire suitability.
  • Classification of fires - Classes and extinguisher fire icons
  • Pulling the pin.
  • When to tackle a fire.
  • Using fire extinguishers
  • Putting out fires - a step-by-step look at how to extinguish fires, with a detailed look at using :
  • Carbon Dioxide extinguishers on an electrical fire.
  • Powder extinguishers on an electrical fire.
  • Showing fire extinguishers in use - not only showing the correct methods of use, but also highlighting common mistakes, including what happens if you get it really wrong and use a water extinguisher on a liquid fire!
  • Powder extinguisher on a liquid fire
  • Foam extinguisher on a liquid fire
  • Carbon Dioxide extinguisher on a liquid fire
  • Water extinguisher on a wood fire
  • Powder extinguisher on a wood fire
  • Water extinguisher on a liquid fire
  • Relevant regulations:

    Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - regarding training and information.

    Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 - regarding training and information.

    Fire precautions (Workplace) Regulations (Amended 1999)

    The Fire Precautions Act 1971

    BS EN 3 - Extinguisher types, colours and icons.