Large-scale fires can pose a severe risk for companies, threatening their economic viability or, in the worst case, leaving them facing bankruptcy. Preventive fire protection is therefore part of the existential core process in every company organisation and can be regarded as emergency prevention within the framework of occupational health and safety. Processes related to buildings, plants and organisation are the three main pillars of preventive fire protection.
Escape routes and prevention equipment must be incorporated from the very early planning stages of any new building or conversion. Roads, paths, corridors, fire compartments within the building, emergency lighting and many other aspects need to be considered. Initial fire fighting, guidance on locating the origin of a fire, alarm and evacuation procedures must also be carefully planned. A fire protection officer advises businesses about these and many other aspects of explosion and fire protection. He/she also informs employees about fire protection procedures and gives advice on what to do if a fire breaks out.
In Germany, having a fire protection officer is not generally mandatory. Some federal states do, however, stipulate that an officer be appointed in their planning laws. This applies particularly to hospitals, industrial plants and large retail and leisure complexes. Furthermore, more and more speciality insurers are insisting on fire protection officers in companies that are at particular risk. Fire protection officers are entitled to perform many functions themselves, but they may also advise and coordinate the deployment of any necessary additional sub-officers.
HÖPPNER Management & Consultant GmbH helps companies to draw up and implement comprehensive fire protection plans by providing a fire protection officer to handle all duties involved, including:
- Drawing up and updating the company fire safety regulations (Parts A,B,C)
- Helping to assess fire hazards in the workplace; advising on work processes that present a fire hazard and involve the use of flammable materials; helping to identify fire explosion hazards
- Preparing detailed operating procedures, evacuation plans, communicating these plans and instructing the workforces
- Implementing official regulations and the requirements of the fire insurance company
- Advising on the best fire extinguishers and extinguishing equipment; ensuring that these are regularly inspected and maintained
- Checking, updating and providing escape and evacuation plans, rescue plans, fire services and alarm plans
- Taking part in official fire exercises; performing fire inspections; maintaining contact with the fire services, employers’ liability insurance association and public authorities; reporting and rectifying defects
- Documenting all fire protection activities in compliance with legal requirements