15/04/2002

New fire examination programme a success

A programme designed to help make buildings across Northern Ireland safer from the risk of fire will complete its first phase this week.

Successful candidates from the first independently approved Fire Risk Assessment examination to be undertaken in the UK were recognised at a ceremony in the City Hall, Belfast, on Monday April 15.

Following the introduction of the new Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations in December last year, the Northern Ireland Fire Safety Panel has become the first agency in the UK to set an examination to test the competency of professionals carrying out fire risk assessments.

Some 40 officers from the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade and Building Control services across the north, as well as a number of representatives from the fire engineering profession, undertook the new Fire Risk Assessment Training Course earlier this year.

The course, which is approved by the Institution of Fire Engineers, is the first of its kind to culminate with an examination, and more than three-quarters of the participants passed at the first attempt. Such has been the success of the pilot scheme that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors now is planning to adopt it across the entire UK.

The course, and subsequent examination, looks at not only the new Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations but also at European directives on fire safety and relevant aspects of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

The examination also tests candidates on their knowledge of the responsibilities of employees and landlords, and of the principles of risk assessment.

Other areas covered include assessment of hazards and fire prevention, means of escape, fire warning systems, fire extinguishing appliances, fire protection measures, management arrangements and risk control plans. (MB)

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