Beyond Face Value: How We Prevent Fires in Homes
Our team was called out a couple of weeks ago, to conduct a fire risk assessment in Epping, Essex. We soon learned that it was not your run-of-the-mill assessment, nor was it one we’d be soon to forget.
Our is usually the aim to prevent fires in homes before they happen. This time, it was to understand why it happened, and how to stop it from doing so again.
In June of last year, the Essex Fire Brigade attended an incident which was unfortunately the scene of fatality caused by fire. At first glance, according to the fire brigade report, it looked as though the fire had begun on the ground floor and ripped through the building, so intense was the damage. At second glance, we couldn’t understand why a building which had been competently compartmentalised would be subject to such damage. And from there on in, we realised there was a whole lot more to it.
Our responsibility as fire safety specialists is refusing to take things at face value.
It’s to dig deeper, look harder, go further into understanding what happened and why. And that’s just what we did.
The building had been constructed with concrete walls and ceilings; the second floor and loft had been made into their own compartment, which is by no means uncommon or bad practice. Our first thoughts were that things had been done properly, and that we too would have signed off on this as a “compliant” – moreover reliable – method of fire prevention in practice.
That was until we inspected the timber struts and found what we think is the culprit of such fast fire spread: the insulation, moreover materials which had been used across them (in this case, felt).
All of this meant that despite the building being compartmentalised properly and to code, its integrity had been let down by something small and simple. A minor install flaw which caused havoc and destruction.
It led to the death of a person – something we’re determined won’t happen again.
And that’s why we’ve recommended that the property have sprinklers installed, despite it not reaching the height that requires them by legislation. It’s why we’ve taken pains to access what we can from the leftover damage, outside AND in, to ensure we’ve covered all points.
Because in the fire safety industry, you can’t take anything at face value. It’s not our job to take a quick peek and sign off – ours is to be sure, absolutely, totally, that we’ve put in place the expert advice and/or physical means to prevent fires in homes.
We can’t sleep at night otherwise – and nor should we.
We’re working hard to prevent fires in homes, one property at a time.
To have Excel Fire consult as your fire safety partner for multi-residential properties across Essex, London and beyond, get in touch today.