Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service - Primary Authority partnerships

Many fire and rescue services are partners with a number of varied businesses. Here is an example of the different types of businesses that have benefitted from a partnership with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service allowing them to be provided with robust and reliable advice to standardise fire safety across their sites, through assured advice and recommendations.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) have been active in Primary Authority since Fire Safety was introduced as a regulated function under the statutory scheme in 2014. HFRS operate partnerships covering a wide range of sectors including housing, care, retail, waste and recycling, and hospitality.

Action for Children – Is quite a new partner. They are a charity which support vulnerable children and young people, providing practical care and support to imporve their lives.

Their portfolio includes homes and schools and HFS have been working to help them with fire safety policy development and compliance with OFSTED requirements.

Majestic Wines – Generally retailers see fire safety issues inside their stores as they need to maximise available retail space. This can mean that external escape routes and ways to access them  are a secondary consideration. HFRS have been working closely with Majestic Wines and helping develop stock policies to ensure that routes are identified through stock rooms to be the shortest direct routes to exits. HFRS advised on inspection programs to identify and remedy deficiencies with external escape routes to the point of eventual safety.

B&Q – In the past HFRS have provided facilities for burn tests for products brought in to sell where they identify a concern. More recently B&Q have opened up to Speedy Hire to franchise within their stores. This brought a number of new challenges such as plant that has a combustion engine and the additional risks associated with regards to storage and movement of these. HFRS was able to support as this area of the business deveoped such as providing advice on safer alternatives such as only displaying battery powered plant internally where the risks cannot be otherwise managed.

When Biffa has a vehicle fire which Surrey FRS attended in April 2020, HFRS was able to work with the company to learn from the incident.  The vehicle was a 95 plate and proved challenging to extinguish. Subsequently,  all 2019 vehicles are fitted with instantaneous fire hose connector and pipework to flood the waste area as a trial, to enable the fire service to connect to.

It was agreed it was a good concept and basically this would allow large volumes of water to enter the rear area, above the load and suppress any flames, However there are challenges that they hadn’t considered so HFRS was able to provide further advice that this action would be best carried out in a controlled area and not on the public highway as:-

  • If the vehicle is not sealed. Large amounts of contaminated water (in this case containing flammable liquids) could escape and enter the drainage system and would need reporting to the Environment Agency
  • If the vehicle is sealed, water entering the chamber at 1KG per 1Lt, the vehicle would quickly become overladen and/or unstable which would make removal extremely difficult

Matthew Clark are a national drinks wholesaler. Many businesses would have had questions arise as they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Matthew Clark we able to approach HFRS about their purpose built charging areas for fork lift trucks. The vehicles are charged with an automatic shut off once charge is complete. As their business, like many others, had to adapt working practices, they were concerned whether this was still acceptable, safe and compliant during the lockdown period. HFRS was able to assist and provide information from the relevant documnetation to reassure they would be compliant, but also provide practical fire safety advice specific to these unusual circumstances. From a fire safety perpspective the charging area woudl be best shut down as any fault in the charging area could go unnoticed for an extended period of time, due to reducation in staff, and could result in a total loss of a site. Something which would have a significant and additional financial impact on the business.