On Wednesday 4th July 2012, over 90 delegates from NHS organisations in London, the London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority and the private sector gathered together at The Barts Health training unit, in Londons East End, for the eighth annual London Fire Safety Concordat workshop organised by NHS London and the London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority.
The Fire Safety Concordat is a unique agreement between the LFEPA (the statutory enforcing authority for regulatory fire safety legislation in the Greater London Area), the Department of Health and NHS London and has been in operation since 2003. Whilst a voluntary agreement all three organisations have the shared objective of improving fire safety throughout the NHS property portfolio in London by ensuring that the roles and responsibilities of the various organisations are effectively translated into practical working arrangements.
The event, sponsored by the Health Estates Facilities Management Association (HefmA London) was billed as a day of learning, discussion and networking and certainly did not disappoint as under the theme of Working Together in Partnership delegates were provided with presentations from a range of experts including;
Jacob Rickett (Browne Jacobson LLP) who covered the legal requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and details of the first prosecution of a Fire Risk Assessor under the Order.
John Bradley (Fire Safety Regulation Policy Technical Support Officer - London Fire Brigade) who spoke on the recently reported findings of the 7 year investigation into the 2004 Rosepark Care Home incident in which 14 elderly residents died.
Mike Ralph (Director of Estates Croydon Healthcare) Currently the Chair of the Medical Gas Association, Mike discussed the installation and maintenance of medical gas pipeline system and the hazards that arise from poor design and installation and how this contributes to and raises fire risk. Mikes colleague and Fire Safety Manager at Croydon Healthcare, Mazin Daoud, looked at the challenges to NHS organisations in relation to conducting fire drills, what is best practice and how this can be shared.
Bob Whiteley (Tyco Fire and Integrated Services.) Bob, Chair of the BSI Joint Water-mist Working Group and the UK Fire Industry Association Mist Working Group, presented and discussed with delegates, the benefits of water mist systems - Drizzle with attitude or the appliance of science? - in healthcare buildings with regard to occupiers, contents and business continuity.
Ben Bradford (BB7 Fire Risk & Resilience) provided an update on the work his company has been engaged in over the past 18 months for the BSI as principle author of PAS 7 Strategic Fire Risk Management which is currently being drafted on behalf of British Standards Institution for release later this year.
The day ended with Peter Aldridge (General Secretary of National Association Health-service Fire Officers) and Paul Roberts (Department of Health Risk Management Adviser and Guidance Development Lead) who looked to the future including accreditation schemes for healthcare fire advisors and the evolution of Department of Health fire safety guidance and Firecode.
The event was facilitated by Phil Smith, Strategic Estates Advisor for NHS London, who congratulated delegates for the high level of attendance and lively participation during the whole day which clearly demonstrated the continued commitment of staff at the NHS, LFEPA and DH in continuing to raise awareness in providing safe environments for the provision of healthcare services. The event also stressed the importance of pooling and sharing of information on a day-to-day basis, especially during the period of change all three organisations find themselves in and when such formal networking opportunities were likely to become less practicable.