Three cheers for Facilities Managers on World FM Day

To celebrate World FM Day, let’s hear it for the world’s Facilities Managers, too often taken for granted as they perform their vital role in businesses across the globe! It is easy to underestimate the importance of facilities management, but here at Fire and Safety Centre we try to offer support to the profession with great advice. We provide key information about fire extinguisher regulations in the workplace – and this is only part of a wealth of free information and guidance available 24/7 to help FM’s to do their job. Crucially, it also includes clear advice about buying fire extinguishers.

The sign on the secretary’s wall said it all: “No-one notices what I do until I don’t do it.” Many Facilities Management professionals must feel that way; the result of their labours apparently taken for granted and seen as a given.

That’s what makes World Facilities Management Day, taking place this year on July 13th, such an important event. It highlights the importance of facilities management, and, by association, just how important Facilities Managers are. As Duncan Waddell, Chairman of Global FM, explains:

“FM is all about enablement. As a sector we enable people to work, we enable the economy, we enable technology, we enable social interaction – the list is endless. At the crux of all of this is people – and for this year’s World FM Day we aim to highlight how we, as FM professionals, empower people to reach their full potential, and in turn create a productive world.”

He might have added that an important part of the FM role is protecting people too, and key to that is understanding and acting upon a host of legislation –including our area of specialism, fire extinguisher regulations in the workplace.

Free fire safety advice offered 24/7

Many FM professionals in the UK will be ‘responsible persons’, as defined by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, or RRO for short.

We will go into this a little more in a moment, but firstly we would like to highlight one of the great things about Fire and Safety Centre. We don’t just sell fire extinguishers; we offer free fire safety advice 24/7. This advice is freely available to FM professionals in our comprehensive advice centre. You will find valuable information not only about fire extinguishers in the workplace, but also other important topics in support of FM professionals, presented in videos, blogs and E-books.

Fire extinguisher regulations in the workplace

So, let us focus on one particular topic which is often raised by FM professionals – how to deal with fire extinguisher regulations in the workplace.

The first question to ask is: ‘Do I need to have a fire extinguisher?” The common sense answer is obviously: ‘Yes, you do.” A more legislation-specific answer would be that the fire risk assessment you’re required to do, under our old friend the RRO, will tell you. The type of extinguisher you select will be dictated by the type of fire you expect to put out with it. There are a number of types, each with a specific function, and we have a useful free blog about selecting and buying fire extinguishers here. Once you know what’s required (though we will help with advice through our on-line chat facility if you need it) then it’s easy to select the product you need on our fire extinguisher product pages.

It is also important to remember that fire extinguishers in the workplace are not ‘fit and forget items’. A key element of the fire extinguisher regulations is that they need regular routine maintenance and servicing so you can be certain that, in the event of an emergency, they won’t let you down and that they are fit for purpose.

The first step in that is a regular visual inspection. This advice page details the sorts of things that the responsible person should be looking out for in their visual inspections, and these are things such as:

  • Make sure they are in the place you originally selected for them;
  • Make sure they’re not used as storage, for files, hats, coats and bags, for instance;
  • Make sure access to them hasn’t been compromised by furniture or other equipment being pushed up against them; and
  • Make sure everyone in the area knows where they are and how to use them.

Then, in addition, basic servicing must be done annually by a qualified engineer, and on a five-yearly cycle for extended servicing and overhauls. This work has to be done by a qualified engineer, and the way to find one of those is to work with a reputable supplier, like Fire and Safety Centre, who can point you in the right direction. It’s a service we provide to back up our sales of the products, and we’d be happy to organise it for you.

Your role as a Facilities Manager doesn’t have to be a lonely one; we’ll happily make the journey with you, so please do give us a call.