Fire safety awareness should focus on three areas

Experts from Honeywell on how to increase GCC fire safety awareness

Mark Fenton explaining the three points of the fire safety triangle.
Mark Fenton explaining the three points of the fire safety triangle.

Three core areas need to be focused on to improve fire safety awareness, according to experts at Honeywell Life Safety, responding to a survey of GCC residents regarding fire safety.

Mark Fenton, business leader, Honeywell Life Safety, Fire Systems, MEA, said in a media briefing that the results of the survey showed the split was consistent across countries. "It’s not like one market is fundamentally worse than another. The general perception across all markets is relatively consistent," he said.

Fenton then pointed out the three core areas Honeywell is looking at to improve fire safety awareness: compliance, training, and system lifecycle.

Fenton said: "We’re looking at three core areas - the first one is compliance." He explained that while there are codes and standards in place, and there is strong compliance from a building design point of view, the service and maintenance point of view and follow up needs to be more compliant.

"A lot of buildings change usage – it’s important that each time a building changes use, it complies to the codes and standards."

The second core area is training. "I think there’s a big need for training from the point of view of the operators and the security guard in the building – does he know what to do in a fire situation, does he know what to do to get people out?" explained Fenton.

He added: "There’s also training related to service and maintenance companies; do they really know how to service the systems when they take these contracts on board, do they fully understand how the systems work?

"Fire systems are actually complex pieces of equipment – they may look passive but they are highly technical systems. They are all computer-based, there’s a lot of programming and technology."

The third is the systems lifecycle. Fenton said the fire systems are expected to last 20-25 years if they are well maintained. He explained it is not a huge cost to do so.

Fenton said: "Nobody is disputing the standards – the challenge we’re talking about is awareness."

Read the full news analysis in the May 2013 issue of Facilities Management Middle East.

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