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Fire safety – What you need to know and how to prepare – Advice from St John Ambulance

Fire and rescue exercise

Shocking figures show that during 2010-2011, 19 people in the UK died in workplace fires, prompting St John Ambulance to call for businesses to wise up when it comes to fire safety.

Knowledge key to preventing fires

Best known for providing first aid training, the charity offers Fire marshal courses for businesses across the country and has set up an online calculator to enable employers to assess how many trained fire marshals they need on their premises to protect their staff and property.

Clive James, Training Development Manager for St John Ambulance, said: ‘At St John Ambulance we are all about preventing unnecessary deaths and while we regularly do this by equipping people with life saving first aid skills, we also want to guard against loss of life by educating people in how to avoid fires occurring. 19 deaths a year as a result of workplace fires is 19 too many and it’s sad to think that lives are being lost potentially due to a lack of planning.’

Online tool 

St John Ambulance’s fire marshal calculator works out how many fire marshals a business needs based on factors such as the size and layout of their premises and varying shift patterns. The online tool removes the need for employers to get caught up trying to understand legislation and also provides details of Fire marshal courses being held in their local area.

Clive continues; ‘We aim to make it as easy as possible for employers to meet legislation and protect the wellbeing of their staff. The average cost to a business that experiences a fire is £50,000 which alone is a terrifying thought but there’s really no price you can put on a life. Our message to employers is that we’re here to help you assess your needs and train up your team to meet them.’

Statistics taken from the Government’s communities website also show that in addition to the 19 fire related deaths in workplaces between 2010 and 2011, a further 1,200 people were injured as a result of fires at work, which is an increase of 3% compared to 2008-2009.

St John Ambulance’s Fire marshal courses are four hours in length and look at the role of a designated fire marshal including managing an incident, planning and executing evacuations, the various types of fire extinguisher and using extinguishers in the workplace. Find out more about training courses in your local area by calling 0844 324 5535.