distribution-warehouse-1A seminar focusing on protecting the UK’s warehouses from fire is to provide a somewhat timely reminder of the dangers only a matter of weeks after two major fires in London provided their own stark indicator of the devastation that fire can wreak.

The free seminar is being organised jointly by the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) as part of a series designed to inform the ‘responsible person’ as to the requirements under the Fire Safety Order. Staged at the West Midlands Fire & Rescue Training Centre in Warley on Wednesday 8 July, the day will begin with a look at ‘The Extent of the Problem of Fires in Warehouses’, a point that was illustrated only too well by the recent fires in Park Royal, North West London and Leyton in East London.  The Park Royal fire at the Cumberland business park started during the night and, despite the efforts of some 75 firefighters and 15 fire engines, destroyed over half of the single storey warehouse. The Leyton fire occurred some three weeks earlier where a similar number of firefighters tackled a blaze which destroyed several warehouses and office buildings.

Incidents such as these are the reason why warehouse fires account for the third highest losses in value terms in the UK, closely behind the manufacturing and retail sectors.  Even if a warehouse is not destroyed, the significant commercial pressures that can result from the losses incurred means that many businesses never recover.

The seminar will discuss the specific problems in protecting warehouses from fire, particularly in light of modern, ‘lightweight’ construction methods which research has shown account for nearly two thirds of warehouse fires. Also on the agenda will be the issue of compartmentation and the modern approach towards increasingly large open spaces which has a direct bearing on the extent of the potential loss.

Other subjects for the seminar include legal obligations under the Fire Safety Order, the importance of fire risk assessments and the role of various fire safety management measures, from fire detection, alarms and sprinklers, to first aid fire fighting and passive fire protection.

Robert Thilthorpe, Technical Manager at the FIA, comments – “There has been concern for some time in the fire protection industry at the increase in the number of fire incidents in warehouses and the escalation in the scale of the losses.  This seminar has been set up to allow us to talk directly to those operating in businesses involving warehouse facilities – owners, responsible persons, duty holders, facilities managers, health and safety managers, building designers and consultants – with a view to providing them with information and advice which makes them better able to protect their premises from the threat of fire.”

Anybody interested in further information should go to the ‘Events’ section of the FIA website (www.fia.uk.com) or contact Becky Reid, FIA Marketing Manager, on: 020 8549 5855;
e-mail breid@fia.uk.com www.fia.uk.com