Myth 17: A short course (of several days, as opposed to weeks) on fire risk assessment can turn a lay person into a competent fire risk assessor
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10 November 2015
To carry out a fire risk assessment there is a need for education, training and experience in the principles of fire safety. The extent of a competent fire risk assessor’s knowledge is set out in the competence standard for fire risk assessors produced by the Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council, a group of 35 stakeholders associated with the fire profession.
It is made clear in this standard that the competent fire risk assessor will have at least an understanding of fire safety legislation and associated guidance, the causes of fire, means to prevent fire, fire protection measures, including active measures (such as fire alarm systems, emergency lighting, fire extinguishing appliances, etc.) and passive fire protection measures (such as fire doors, fire resistant construction, etc.), building construction and the behaviour of fire in buildings, human behaviour in fire and management of fire safety in buildings.
Most short courses on fire risk assessment assume a basic knowledge of these principles, and concentrates on the process of fire risk assessment and the application of existing knowledge in a way that results in measures that are proportionate to risk.
Some short fire risk assessment courses may address some of the basic principles of fire safety, but, to teach these to someone with no background in fire safety would take many weeks. Short courses, can however, provide an awareness of the principles of fire risk assessment, such as to enable people with an understanding of, for example, building management or engineering to interpret or evaluate fire risk assessments produced by others.
A short course may also be sufficient for those managing small low risk premises, but is unlikely to be suitable training for a lay person who wishes to carry out fire risk assessments as a profession.
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