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Stop right there. Drop the screwdriver and back away from whatever it is that you’re trying to install or sell to a client.
Even if you think you know what you’re doing – that you are confident about your job, think back… when was the last time you did some training? Two years ago? Three? Maybe more?
One of the most dangerous things a professional can lack is sufficient training and expertise. When it comes to fire safety equipment installation, maintenance, and commissioning, the problem is that these pieces of equipment are highly important for the protection of people’s lives. With sufficient knowledge of the products, the legal requirements, and British Standards for best practise, installers of fire safety equipment are less likely to make errors in an arena where making errors really could jeopardise the lives of the general public.
It really is that simple: increased knowledge leads to greater competence and confidence on the job.
What the statistics say about fires in the UK
Government statistics reveal that local authority fire and rescue services attended around 154,700 fires in England in 2014-15. Luckily, this number is reducing year-upon-year, but much more is needed to be done to make the UK a safer place to live, work, and relax.
Of those 154,700 fires, around 44% of those events were recorded by Government statistics as being false fire alarms – draining the resources of the Fire & Rescue Services.
But many false alarms could be avoided simply by raising the level of professional knowledge held by fire system maintainers and installers. And perhaps even a few fires could have been avoided with a robust risk assessment given by an expert in the field of fire risk assessment.
But the fact is, you simply cannot be an expert without sufficient training.
What the law says
There are many legal requirements that must be fulfilled where fire safety is concerned. For every non-domestic premises, the employer or building owner is responsible for fire safety, according to legislation and are named the ‘responsible person’. If there is a breach of fire safety regulations, it is therefore the responsible person that will ultimately be faced with charges against them, so it is in their best interest to do everything in their power to ensure that they take all reasonable steps to protect themselves, the building, and the lives of the people within.
But where does that leave the companies that businesses hire to install and maintain their fire safety systems?
“The responsible person must, where necessary—
(a) take measures for fire-fighting in the premises, adapted to the nature of the activities carried on there and the size of the undertaking and of the premises concerned;
(b) nominate competent persons to implement those measures and ensure that the number of such persons, their training and the equipment available to them are adequate, taking into account the size of, and the specific hazards involved in, the premises concerned; and
(c) arrange any necessary contacts with external emergency services, particularly as regards fire-fighting, rescue work, first-aid and emergency medical care.
4) A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of paragraph (3)(b) where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to implement the measures referred to in that paragraph.”
So that means that competency is key. And naturally, competence comes not just from experience, but from taking time to learn more and keep up to date about industry standards and best practise. Additionally, when the responsible person contracts a fire alarm maintenance company, then some of the legal responsibility falls upon the contracted company. So getting the right level of training really is vital – not only to give customers the best products and experience, but it also ensures that you are considered ‘competent’ in the eyes of the law.
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What we say at the FIA
Keeping your training up-to-date is probably the most valuable use of your time. It’s the one thing that ensures your competency according to the law, and it also provides you with all the extra knowledge that you could not have gained through experience alone.
With new British Standards constantly being developed and released, it is always best to indulge in the practise of regular learning and career development.
Why? Because British Standards are created for the betterment of the industry, for the safety of the users and everyone around, and having a thorough knowledge of these helps installers to advise their clients on their fire safety requirements. Essentially, it is about building trust in the customer. When the customer knows and understands the level of expertise that they are buying into, they place their trust in the company and are likely to be return customers.
Training equals trust.
What our delegates say about our training
Delegates who come to us for training always remark on the level of professionalism and the level of detailed expert knowledge that they benefit from.
“I sat the FIA training courses on Monday and Tuesday this week. I thought I would drop you a quick email to praise Chris the trainer. His delivery of the course content was fantastic, very rarely have I attended a course that was wholly PowerPoint based and stayed so alert. He is clearly very knowledgeable about the subject and this reflected in his delivery and real life examples.”
– Dave Phelps, CIA Fire and Security Ltd, via email
“I should have done this course years ago, extremely beneficial. The instructor was very very good!”
– Michael Broder, after attending our Unit 1: Fire Detection & Alarm course
What the industry thinks
Every six months, we survey companies nationwide to find out the current trends in the market. In the latest Market Conditions Review, there was a marked percentage of employers looking to recruit skilled labour, so there is a clear appetite in the industry for training. Additionally, this was a trend that has continued over the years and it is a trend that is likely to increase in the future.
In a nutshell – getting the training in now will make you and your skills more marketable to employers in the future.
All of the FIA courses are industry recognised and are highly regarded as the pinnacle of theory-based training.
What courses we offer
We offer a range of courses to suit your needs – including emergency lighting, installing and maintaining of fire alarm systems, and how to maintain portable fire extinguishers. There are so many other courses available too – even things such as risk assessing or F-Gas training. We are constantly updating our courses with the latest, most up-to-date information so that you get the best experience.
What the courses involve
Training courses last between 1-4 days, depending on the course you choose and the level of detail we put into the course. As always, your trainer is on hand to deliver the information you need, answer any questions you may have, and provide you with opportunities to discuss the theory and practice you have learnt with fellow delegates on the course with you.
Training usually consists of a presentation with high-quality handouts for you to take away afterwards, should you wish to refresh your memory after the event.
After your training you will be informed of your results and be sent your certificate, which is yours to keep as proof of your achievements with us.
Who the trainers are
Our trainers are professionals from within the industry. They each are specialists within their respective fields and most benefit from over 30 years in the industry. Together they have created detailed training courses that benefit from their years of experience and dedication to British Standards with the fire industry.
Their invaluable insights and real-life examples of how theory relates to everyday on-the-job scenarios will give you a thorough and detailed knowledge of industry best practice.
You can find out more about our trainers on our website, along with a list of courses. We run training programmes nationwide, with a wide range of dates and locations.
18 November 2020
By Chris Downing, FIA Extinguishing Council
19 November 2019
By Michael Gregg, FIA Training Manager
14 October 2019
By Rob Thilthrope
15 January 2021