SC32 - Fire and Emergency Management
15 Sep 2011



Fire and Emergency Management




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BiteSize SHE BiteSiz​e SHE

Fire Safety Basics

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Initial release
October 2011
1.1Minor update to Basic Fire SafetyNovember 2011
1.2Minor change to para 4.1.3December 2011
1.3Minor change to Purp​ose section
January 2012
1.4Minor changes to include Comms Emergency Plan in 4.1.3October 2012
1.5Updates to audit checklistMay 2013
Add Document retention policy Appendix
August 2014
Revised Fire Alarm Isolation Permit
May 2015
Minor change to 4.1.2 and update to New Build Pro-forma
April 2016
Changes following review by STFC Fire Officers
August 2016
​Changes related to the launch of SHE Assure
​October 2018
Added 4.10.5​
​April 2019

1. Purpose​

The ability to respond rapidly and effectively to an emergency is a major factor in preventing injury to persons and minimising loss to property. While there are many potential causes of non-medical emergencies, the most likely is a fire.

Fire safety management systems need to be actively managed to ensure that they are in place, appropriate and operational in STFC buildings. Their effectiveness depends critically on:

  • those responsible for the maintenance and operation of fire safety management systems: AND
  • those occupying buildings following procedures and ensuring that fire safety management systems are not compromised.

Good management of fire safety is essential in preventing fires and if they do occur ensuring they are contained, controlled and ultimately extinguished quickly, effectively and safely.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the Employers, Building Owners or others in control of premises to manage the risk of fire, so far as is reasonably practicable, in order to ensure the safety of relevant persons on its sites. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require that steps are taken to mitigate the issues that may arise from reasonably foreseeable emergencies.

STFC’s planned response to general emergencies, for example gas releases, explosions, environmental incidents, will ensure that the impact of the emergency to its people and property is minimised.

This code outlines STFC policy with respect to the management of emergencies, especially fires, and the provision of trained people to help deal with such emergency situations.

2. Scope

This Code applies to STFC managed sites and STFC staff, contractors, visitors, tenants and facility users working at STFC managed sites and buildings.

This code does not apply at STFC’s Swindon Office (SO) where the STFC is a tenant. STFC staff working at SO follow the Fire and Emergency arrangements established by Joint Building Operations Services (JBOS).

Related STFC SHE Codes include:

  • STFC SHE Code 5:   Incident Reporting and Investigation;
  • STFC SHE Code 15: Management of Contractors;
  • STFC SHE Code 10, Provision of SHE training;
  • STFC SHE Code 20, Controlling Explosive and Flammable gases and dusts;
  • STFC SHE Code 36, First Aid Management; and
  • STFC SHE Code 19, Work on buildings, premises, services and infrastructure

3. Definitions

3.1   Building Fire Manager (BFM)

A manager appointed by their Director, to act as a focus for fire related safety issues within a building from the building users’ perspective, and to lead regular reviews of the management of fire safety within a designated building(s). In some cases there will be more than one BFM for a building or if appropriate a BFM may be appointed for several buildings.   

3.2 Building Ward​en

An STFC member of staff appointed by their Director or a tenant staff member appointed by their organisation to carry out defined duties in the event of a fire alarm or Site Emergency in their building.  Detailed Building Warden responsibilities under fire or emergency conditions are site specific. These duties are written down and recorded, and can be found in appendix 1.

3.3 Hot Works Permit Issuer

An STFC authorised member of staff appointed by their Director to issue Hot Works Permits for work in specified areas within their Department. 

3.4 Other Personnel with duties in an Emergency.
  • RAL - Alarm Investigation Team (AIT), Security Teams (ST) and Emergency Controllers (ECs)
  • DL - Emergency Team (ET), Site Controllers (SC) and Senior Site Controllers (SSCs)
  • UKATC team - Incident Control Officers (ICO).

Teams of STFC members (or individuals), for example: site security staff, control room staff and others who deliver a first response in the event of an emergency. Detailed responsibilities for these roles under emergency conditions are site specific. These duties are written down and recorded in their respective site emergency plans, and where appropriate to this code can be found in appendix 1.

3.5 Estates Team

This is a generic term used to identify those groups responsible for the operation and maintenance of a site’s Critical Fire and Emergency Safety Systems (see 3.7) and infrastructure at STFC owned or operated sites. 

  • At RAL (including the Cosener’s House and Chilbolton Observatory) the Estates Services Group undertake this role;
  • At DL it is the Estates Management Group; and
  • At the UKATC it is the Premises Department.
3.6 Fire Risk Assessment

Undertaken by a competent person, typically the Fire Safety Advisor, in conjunction with building occupiers/users, a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) considers:

  • The fire hazards in a specific location;
  • Who might be affected by those hazards and how;
  • The control measures in place; and
  • What is required to ensure that the risks to people are minimised, and that buildings meet acceptable fire management standards. 

FRAs must be documented and maintained to reflect changes to the infrastructure and use of buildings, fire incidents and legislative or other changes to building fire management standards. They are stored in SHE Assure the STFC SHE document management system.

3.7 Critical Fire and Emergency Safety Systems

Those component parts of a building, and subsequent changes to a building, that exist to provide protection or warning in an emergency. 
Examples of such systems and components include but are not limited to:

  • Public address systems;
  • Manual call points;
  • Fire (Smoke or Heat) detection;
  • Emergency lighting;
  • Building Management Systems;
  • Building compartmentation;
  • Emergency exits;
  • Fire Doors; 
  • Fire Extinguishers and Fixed Extinguishent Systems (connected to the Fire Alarm System);
  • Fire alarm sounders;
  • Power off systems; and
  • Local ventilation shut down systems.
3.8 Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

The arrangements in place to ensure a disabled person (this includes someone who is temporarily disabled with restricted mobility), can get to a temporary place of safety in the event of an emergency, Refuges. Further guidance on undertaking a PEEP assessment and creating a PEEP can be found on the Forms and templates  web page.

3.9 Contract Supervising Officer (CSO)

See definition 3.1 in STFC SHE Code 15 (Management of Contractors).

3.10  Contractor

See definition 3.2 in STFC SHE Code 15 (Management of Contractors).

4. Responsibilities

4.1 Director Responsible for SHE shall:
  • 4.1.1 Ensure that a documented Site Emergency Plan is developed, maintained and implemented for each STFC site. The content of the plan shall include but is not limited to:
    • Defining the management chain to be established in the event of an emergency and the names of those trained to undertake the roles detailed;
    • Contact details for local emergency services, regulatory authorities, HR (Human Resources), Communications staff (internal and external/press) and communications staff, and other persons or organisations as required;
    • Training requirements for those with defined roles in the Site Emergency Plan;
    • Procedures to follow with respect to significant and foreseeable emergency scenarios. Examples might include: the response to a fire alarm (including the assessment of whether an alarm is real or false), and procedures for evacuating the site; and
    • Links to related emergency plans for example the STFC Communication Emergency Plan, Business Continuity plans etc.

  • 4.1.2 Ensure that persons with responsibilities defined in the Site Emergency Plan (e.g. AIT members and Emergency Controllers at RAL, ERT members and ICOs at DL, ICOs at ROE) are appointed and that they attend any required training.
  • 4.1.3  Ensure that Site Emergency Plans, including STFC Communication Emergency Plans, are tested annually in a credible scenario which is relevant to the sites' major health, safety and environmental hazards. Exercises may be paper based or simulated to test the plan’s effectiveness, identify and resolve deficiencies in the plan, and act as refresher training for those with responsibilities in the plan.
  • 4.1.4 Ensure that the Site Emergency Plan is reviewed and updated at least annually in the light of learning from planned exercises, actual emergencies or changes to site hazard profiles and external emergency service provision to the site.
  • 4.1.5 Appoint in writing (template appointment letter) sufficient competent Fire Safety Advisors for each STFC site, see Appendix 5 for details of the required training, recording their appointment in the STFC SHE Directory.
    4.1.5 Appoint in writing sufficient competent Fire Safety Advisors for each STFC site, see Appendix 5 for details of the required training, recording their appointment.
4.2 ​Directors shall:
  • 4.2.1 Appoint in writing (template appointment letter) Building Fire Managers for buildings in which staff from their Department are located, recording their appointment in the STFC SHE Directory. Where building occupancy or responsibility is shared between Departments, the Fire Safety Advisor should be consulted to ensure coverage is agreed formally.
    4.2.1 Appoint in writing Building Fire Managers for buildings in which staff from their Department are located, recording their appointment. Where building occupancy or responsibility is shared between Departments, the Fire Safety Advisor should be consulted to ensure coverage is agreed formally.
  • 4.2.2 Appoint in writing (template appointment letter) sufficient Building Wardens as determined by guidance from the Fire Safety Advisor - for each building they are responsible for and/or occupy, and ensure that records of their appointment are maintained in the STFC SHE Directory.
    4.2.2 Appoint in writing sufficient Building Wardens as determined by guidance from the Fire Safety Advisor - for each building they are responsible for and/or occupy and ensure that records of their appointment are maintained.
  • 4.2.3 Appoint in writing (template appointment letter) Hot Works Permit Issuers for defined areas within their Department, recording their appointment in the STFC SHE Directory.
    4.2.3 Appoint in writing Hot Works Permit Issuers for defined areas within their Department, recording their appointment.
4.3 Building Fire Managers shall:
  • 4.3.1 Act as the focus for fire safety management matters, from the user pserspective, in the building for which they are appointed.  This includes ensuring that building occupants are aware of their appointment and their role; liaising regularly with building occupants to ensure that any new processes, procedures and equipment, changes of use of any parts of the building, etc, are assessed from a fire management perspective; and as appropriate initiating amendments to the Building Fire Risk Assessment (in liaison with the Fire Safety Advisor and Estates).
  • 4.3.2 Attend, and as appropriate chair, the annual Building Fire Review meeting to review Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) and general fire safety issues within their designated building(s).
  • 4.3.3 Ensure that they consult with the Fire Safety Advisor on the fire safety implications of any proposed changes in the structure or use of their building(s).
  • 4.3.4 Monitor completion of the actions arising from their FRAs and building reviews, highlighting issues to the relevant Director as appropriate.
4.4 Building wardens shall:
  • 4.4.1 Attend all training detailed in Appendix 5
  • 4.4.2 In the event of an emergency or fire evacuation drill, carry out their duties as defined in the relevant section of Appendix 1, without putting themselves at significant additional risk.
  • 4.4.3 Inform their Manager/Director and SHE Group when they move buildings on a permanent basis, or for any other reason cannot undertake their role as building warden for the areas they cover, and when such changes occur ask their Departmental Safety Contact or Director’s PA to update their entry in the STFC SHE Directory accordingly.
    4.4.3 Inform their Manager/Director and SHE Group when they move buildings on a permanent basis, or for any other reason cannot undertake their role as building warden for the areas they cover.
4.5 Estates Teams shall:
  • 4.5.1 Ensure that all site infrastructure whose functions are detailed in or are assumed by the Site Emergency Plan or building FRAs, including but not limited to ‘Critical Fire and Emergency Safety Systems’ (except Fire Extinguishers), see 3.7, are:
    • Installed and maintained according to relevant guidance and best practice, and documented records of such are retained (See guidance in Appendix 4);
    • Inspected and tested regularly in line with the relevant guidance for example Approved Codes Of Practice (ACOPS see section 5 and Appendix 4), and documented evidence of such testing retained; and
    • Rectify reported faults in such systems within a timescale commensurate with the risk
  • 4.5.2 Ensure that any modifications to site infrastructure or emergency access routes that impact the operation of the site Emergency Plan, the controls detailed in building FRAs or ‘Critical Fire and Emergency Safety Systems’ are reviewed with the Fire Safety Advisor prior to implementation and inform Building Fire Managers where appropriate.
  • 4.5.3 Where work is planned which affects the functionality of the ‘Critical Fire and Emergency Safety Systems’ in any building, bring this information to the attention of the building’s occupants, the Fire Safety Advisor, the Building Fire Manager and Security.
  • 4.5.4 Where work on new or refurbished/modified buildings affects the controls detailed in FRAs, ensure that approval of the Fire Safety Advisor is sought prior to work taking place. (See Appendix 4 for New Build/ Refurbishment Sign Off checklist).
  • 4.5.5 Include up-to-date details of the ‘Critical Fire and Emergency Safety Systems’ (see 3.7) in Building Drawings.
  • 4.5.6 Endeavour to minimise the generation of fire false alarms through the management of all works, particularly those undertaken by contractors. Where possible ensure that building fire management systems remain operational at all times:
    • Where this is not possible the status of the fire detection/alarm system should be discussed with the Fire Safety Advisor/SHE Group and brought to the attention of the Building Fire Manager and all occupants.
    • All isolations must be carried out under a ‘Permit to Work – Fire Detection System’ (given in Appendix 2) issued by an approved/authorised person from Estates teams. Under defined circumstances, Estates teams may authorise other department’s competent staff to carry out isolations. This permit must be completed and signed off by the relevant persons.
    • The permit must be prominently displayed at the fire panel for the duration of the work and removed upon completion of the works.
    • If the reason for the isolation / disablements is because the work specified on the Permit is likely to generate dust or fume then in addition to isolation a numbered Red/Orange cap should be fitted to heat/smoke detectors to prevent the device from becoming dirty or contaminated. The cap will be issued by the person issuing the Permit. This action, and the cap number shall be recorded on the Permit and return of the permit should confirm that caps have been removed on completion of the work. Only caps managed and controlled by Estates groups shall be used.
4.6 Fire Safety Advisors shall:
  • 4.6.1 Promote a positive fire safety culture across the site and advise management on its statutory obligations regarding fire safety and of the effect of new or revised legislation.
  • 4.6.2 Undertake FRAs, or ensure that FRAs are undertaken by competent individuals, and then  maintained in conjunction with building occupants/users in light of changing building use and modifications for all buildings or combinations thereof at STFC sites. FRAs can be found in SHE Assure​.
  • 4.6.3 Ensure that an annual programme of Building Fire Review meetings are held, as appropriate chaired by the respective Building Fire Manager for all site FRAs. Attendees at the meetings should include: relevant members of Estate Groups, as appropriate members of SHE Group, representatives of those occupying the building and building wardens. The key deliverable from these meetings is a review of the FRA’s suitability and progress in completing actions arising from the FRA. As appropriate additional meetings may also be required with BFMs and or estates team to plan and review progress in completing actions arising from FRAs.
  • 4.6.4 Ensure that all fire extinguishers and ‘fixed’ extinguisher systems on site are inspected annually and maintained in good working order by a competent person, maintaining records of such inspections and maintenance.
  • 4.6.5 Ensure that a programme of fire drills is carried out annually for each occupied building and that any learning from such drills is identified, addressed and communicated.
  • 4.6.6 Review and approve the adequacy of fire management systems in new buildings or significant changes to existing buildings prior to their beneficial occupation by staff, tenants, contractors or others, see Appendix 4 for New Build/ Refurbishment Sign Off checklist.
  • 4.6.7 Ensure that all False Fire Alarms, Near Misses related to Fire Management Systems and Fire Incidents are investigated in line with STFC SHE Code 5: Incident reporting and investigation, to ascertain the root cause and learn from such incidents.
  • 4.6.8 Ensure that escape signage is provided to a consistent standard across their site, and that information on the required standard of such signage is given to those arranging new builds or refurbishments. (Escape signage may be to either the relevant BS or EN standard, but should be consistent across the site).
  • 4.6.9 Act as the primary link between the STFC and local fire authorities.
  • 4.6.10 Coordinate, support and provide training, as appropriate, to all Building Fire Managers and Building Wardens (see Appendix 5). 
4.7 SHE Group shall:
  • 4.7.1 Ensure that mandatory fire and refresher training sessions are provided for those located on STFC sites: staff, and long term contractors/tenants, as defined in STFC SHE Code 10: Provision of SHE training see Appendix 5, and that records of this training are entered, and maintained in, the relevant Personnel database.
  • 4.7.2 Provide assistance with interpretation of the requirements of this code.
  • 4.7.3 Maintain links with any relevant neighbouring organisations to ensure that the Site Emergency Plan takes account of external emergency scenarios that may affect the site.
4.8 Managers, including Contract Supervising Officers shall:
  • 4.8.1 Ensure that all staff and those that they are responsible for (staff, students, visitors, tenants, agency staff etc,) understand the procedures to follow in the event of an emergency or fire and have attended relevant training, see STFC SHE Code 10, SHE Training.
  • 4.8.2 Ensure that any person, for whom they are responsible, who has an impairment that affects their ability to evacuate a building/workplace promptly, is assessed for the need to establish a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) and if appropriate put one in place.
  • 4.8.3 Ensure that they consult with the Building Fire Manager and Fire safety Advisor on any proposed changes in their areas where there are fire safety implications, for example structural changes to the building fabric, changes in the nature of work undertaken in an area, introduction of new plant/equipment, changes to the occupancy of buildings; and any Critical Fire and Emergency Safety Systems.
  • 4.8.4 Ensure that where significant quantities (More than 0.5m3 gas/ 1 litre liquid) of flammable substances and/or compressed gases are in use in any area that they manage/control, that those substances are stored securely and appropriately in line with the guidance given in STFC SHE Code 20:Controlling Explosive and Flammable Gases and Dusts, Appendix 2.
  • 4.8.5 Ensure that where work involving hot works are necessary outside of dedicated hot works areas (for example Mechanical Workshops or Soldering Stations), that such works are undertaken under a ‘Permit to Work – Hot Work Outside of Workshops’, see Appendix 3. Such permits shall be issued by an approved Hot Work Permit issuer.
  • 4.8.6 When managing work that may generate dust or fumes, ensure that the creation of dust or fume is minimised and obtain – from Estates - the isolation and capping of local heat/smoke detectors.
  • 4.8.7 Managers of workshops, laboratories or other experimental areas shall ensure that Hazard Warning posters are displayed and maintained at the entrance to such areas. The Hazard Warning posters should display the out of hours contact details for those individuals operating equipment out of hours.
4.9 Hot Work Permit Issuers shall:
  • 4.9.1 Only issue Hot Works Permits after having successfully completed the training defined in Appendix 5. They shall not issue Permits for work they are going to carry out themselves unless this has been countersigned by another Hot Works Permit Issuer.
  • 4.9.2 Assess all associated risks involved in the Hot Work, including any need for Fire Detection System isolations, appropriate fire fighting equipment, develop a safe system of work and issue a Hot Works Permit, ensuring all necessary precautions, including emergency procedures are taken.
  • 4.9.3 Ensure at the end of work/working day that all hot work permits have been signed off and any isolated Fire Detector(s) re-instated. An example of a Hot Work Permit is included in Appendix 3.
4.10 Staff, Tenants, Contractors, Facility Users and Visitors shall:
  • 4.10.1 Familiarise themselves with and subsequently follow STFC’s Fire Safety Standards, found at the beginning of this code and local site fire and emergency procedures (RALDLROE).
  • 4.10.2 Attend all mandatory fire training, see STFC SHE Code 10 SHE Training.
  • 4.10.3 Only accept Hot Work Permits where they are competent to carry out the requirements of the permit, and only carry out Hot Works where a Hot Work Permit has been issued.
  • 4.10.4 Inform their manager, or person responsible for their safety while on an STFC site, of any condition that may affect their ability to respond to an emergency or exit safely and promptly from an area or building in the event of an emergency or fire.
  • 4.10.5 Tenants shall co-operate and provide any information required by the site Fire Safety Advisor to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment of the premises/building(s) they occupy.
  • 4.10.6 When travelling on STFC business, familiarise themselves with the fire management provisions (escape routes, fire extinguishers, manual call points etc), in their place of work or accommodation.
  • 4.10.7 Report any incident or near miss relating to the function and operation of fire management systems, see STFC SHE Code 5: Incident reporting and investigation.
  • 4.10.8 During a Fire or Site Emergency situation cooperate fully with Building Wardens and all other staff with defined emergency roles, for example –Emergency Controllers (EC) and Site Controllers (SC), – and carry out any actions requested by them.

5. References

Electronic copies of legislation, approved codes of practice and British Standards can be accessed by STFC staff through STFC-wide subscriptions for online information resources. These services are provided by the Chadwick and RAL libraries and further details can be found on the SHE Group website.

Relevant British Standards for Fire Management Systems include:

  1. BS 5839-1, as revised Code of Practice for System Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance
  2. BS EN 54-25, as revised Fire detection Systems using Radio Links
  3. BS 5266-1, as revised Code of Practice for the Emergency Lighting of Premises
  4. BS 8519, as revised Code of Practice for the Selection and Installation of Fire resistant Power and Control Cable systems for Life safety and Fire Fighting Applications
  5. BS 5499-4, as revised Code of Practice for Escape Route Signing
  6. BS EN 15004-2, as revised Fixed Fire Fighting Systems – Gas Extinguishing Systems. Design, Installation and Maintenance
  7. BS EN 62305-1, as revised Protection against Lightning
  8. BS 9999, as revised Code of Practice for Fire Safety in the Design, Management and Use of Buildings
  9. BS 5306-3, as revised Code of Practice for the Commissioning and Maintenance of Portable Fire Extinguishers
  10. BS EN ISO 13943, as revised Fire Vocabulary
  11. BS ISO 14520-1, as revised - Gaseous Fire Extinguishing Systems
  12. BS EN 50172, as revised – Emergency Escape Lighting Systems
  13. BS 7273-4, as revised – CoP for the Operation of Fire protection Measures: Actuation of Mechanisms for Door
  14. BS 7671 ( 17th edition, as revised) The Electricity at Work Regulations
  15. DSEAR Regulations 2015, as revised
  16. HSE ACoP L135 – The Storage of Dangerous Substances.

Contact: Smith, Andrew (STFC,DL,COO)