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FOCUS


Reducing risk


Personal protection systems use watermist to reduce home fire risks for vulnerable people, and Nigel Firkins explains recent guidance


protect a vulnerable person in a domestic or residential environment from fi re. These systems were developed in response to detailed analysis of the underlying causes of fatal fi res in dwellings in England and Wales, where many victims had physical and/or mental health impairments. The analysis showed that this vulnerable


A


group are at higher risk from fire in their homes, as they are unable to easily escape without assistance. They also have a higher than average likelihood of fi re in their home. In many of the reviewed cases, the person was already known to be at increased risk because they had experienced one or more fi res, or there was evidence of previous burn marks on their clothing, bedding or furniture (see Figure 1 opposite).


Recognising that a person is at higher risk


is important in ensuring that risk reduction measures can be introduced before tragedy occurs. Many potential PPS users are being provided with a care package or other forms of independent living support. In recognition of this, the Care Quality Commission includes


32 FEBRUARY 2019 www.frmjournal.com New guidance


To assist in understanding and reducing fi re risk to vulnerable people, BRE Global and London Fire Brigade have jointly published Guidance on the use, deployment and


PERSONAL Protection System (PPS) is a local application watermist fi re suppression system designed to


fire prevention and risk recognition in its Common Induction Standards1


, which is the


training that all care workers receive in their fi rst few weeks. What is the typical risk profi le of a PPS user? It is a person who, because of mental and/ or physical health issues, spends most of their time in either a bed or a chair, and who would be unable to easily escape in the event of a fi re. They would be in close proximity to the seat of the fi re if clothing or bedding catches alight and the principal fi re hazard is localised to a specifi c area within a dwelling. Whilst the standard community fi re safety


approach of carrying out ‘home fi re safety checks’ and ensuring that there are working smoke alarms is sufficient to reduce the risk to an acceptable level for much of the population, for those identifi ed as being at higher risk and unlikely to escape unaided, additional measures are necessary.


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