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Fire Safety Matters Podcast - Episode 10

24 August 2020

THE TENTH edition of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast is now available to download or stream for free. On this episode we interview Dr Tony Cash of the Rail Industry Fire Association and also Tim Barker from specialist fire protection systems manufacturer FSi Ltd.

The Fire Safety Matters (FSM) Podcast is hosted by the magazine’s Editor Brian Sims and Western Business Media’s CEO Mark Sennett, with new editions available fortnightly on Wednesdays. The FSM Podcast is kindly sponsored by The Fire Safety Event, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 27-29 April 2021.

In Episode 10, Brian chats with Tony Cash, international president of the Rail Industry Fire Association (RIFA). RIFA was launched back in 1996 following the privatisation of British Rail the previous year. The organisation’s key objectives are to share information, experience and Best Practice in the management of fire safety throughout the railway industry and also to provide salient advice when and where requested.

With the demise of the British Railways Board, it was recognised that there would no longer be one management body with overall responsibility for fire safety across the rail industry. The RIFA was therefore recognised by those rail industry organisations supporting its launch as the appropriate body for continuing that function.

Since then, the RIFA has served as the recognised ‘voice of the industry’ for the benefit of its members and determines to preside over fire safety standards.

Fire safety and risk assessments

For his part, Tony Cash is an experienced Chartered fire engineer (accredited by the Institution of Fire Engineers, of which he’s a Fellow), safety professional and emergency planner who’s highly skilled in compliance issues and has worked in the rail/transportation, oil and petrochemicals, marine and aviation industries across the last three decades and more.

Tony is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Gained at the University of Leeds, his Doctorate focused on physical chemistry, thermodynamics, reaction-to-fire calorimetry, fires and explosions. He also holds a BSc degree in chemistry from the University of London.

Having considerable experience in the development and maintenance of requirements related to product certification and testing, fire safety, risk assessments and emergency planning, Tony is currently employed as the senior fire engineer for Heathrow Airport Ltd.

Prior to this, Tony enjoyed a period of consultancy as infrastructure director for Trenton Fire, and also served in the role of senior engineer at Transport for London, during which time he was responsible for the co-ordination of plan reviews with the Fire Authority and also managed both the issue and revision of building fire plans, all the while working closely with the London Fire Brigade’s Transport Fire Safety Team.

In addition, Tony was responsible for co-ordinating fire safety provisions along the Piccadilly Line extension to Heathrow Terminal 5.

Impact of COVID-19

During Episode 10 of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast, Tony outlines in great detail his involvement with RIFA, elaborates on why the organisation was initially created and also focuses on the main aims of RIFA in today’s world.

In what ways has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how fire safety is managed on the railway network? Tony addresses this question for the benefit of the readers of Fire Safety Matters.

Fire safety on the railways really came to the forefront of debate in the wake of the tragic fire at London’s Kings Cross on 18 November 1987. More than 150 firefighters and 30 fire engines were called to the blaze which began at around 7.30 that evening. Labelled the worst fire in the history of the London Underground, the blaze started when a match was discarded on one of the wooden escalators, subsequently setting fire to the grease and litter underneath the steps.

The Kings Cross fire claimed the lives of over 30 people – among them a senior ranked firefighter – and seriously injured many more. The subsequent public inquiry led by Sir Desmond Fennell published its findings in November 1988, duly making no less than 157 recommendations for remediation work. These pointed towards replacing the wooden escalators, an observation that the smoking ban on the London Underground should be extended to all station areas, the radio equipment used by the British Transport Police having to be compatible with that deployed by the London Fire Brigade, a review of the Brigade’s PPE, improvement to the Brigade’s radio communications between firefighters below ground and a general review of both training and policy.

During Episode 10 of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast, Tony Cash revisits that tragic occurrence in the capital and pinpoints what he believes to be the main changes to fire safety on the railways since the findings of Sir Desmond Fennell’s inquiry were made public.

In addition, Tony addresses the single biggest challenge in terms of fire safety now facing the rail network. If you want to find out what that challenge is, do listen to Episode 10 of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast.

Fire protection systems

Our second guest on this edition of the Fire Safety Matters Podcast is Tim Barker, UK account manager at FSi Ltd, the specialist fire protection systems manufacturer. The business is renowned for its expertise in fire stopping and compartmentation solutions.

Key here is the reference to systems and not individual products. According to FSi Ltd, it’s paramount that fire protection systems are installed to uphold the prescribed fire performance of a structure.

All of the company’s systems are manufactured to global standards including CE, UL, FM, AS, ASTM and ISO. The company designs and develops fire protection, air permeability, movement, water permeability and acoustic isolation systems as well as general construction sealants, offering support and training through its highly experienced technical team.

For his part, Tim has worked at FSi Ltd since March 2017. In conversation with Mark, he talks about the importance of using suitable passive fire protection systems and also offers his considered thoughts on the new and much-discussed Building Safety Bill recently unveiled by the Government.

As always, the FSM editorial team once again analyses the latest major news emerging from the fire sector here in the UK.

Listen to the FSM Podcast

You can listen to the FSM Podcast for free on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. To download the FSM Podcast on iTunes or Spotify, all you need to do is enter the term ‘Fire Safety Matters’ into the search box of your chosen platform.

Alternatively, you can listen to the FSM Podcast online at fsmpodcast.podbean.com or via our YouTube channel by clicking here.

*If there are any specific subjects you would like to see featured in an upcoming Fire Safety Matters Podcast please do contact us. You can do so on Twitter by using the hashtag #FSMPodcast. Alternatively, send an e-mail direct to bsims@westernbusiness.media