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LFB warns managers of closed historic venues not to be complacent about fire safety
19 April 2020
ONE YEAR on from the devastating Notre Dame blaze, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) is warning the managers of London’s closed historic venues not to be complacent about fire safety during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Twelve months ago, the Notre Dame blaze prompted the Brigade to write to venue owners across London, urging them to consider emergency response planning to protect their buildings and the precious items they contain.
A year on and many of these venues have been forced to close due to the Coronavirus outbreak, but the Brigade is warning that it's now more essential than ever for venues to work with it on planning for an emergency.
During these uncertain times, it's understandable that premises owners may be concerned about the safety of their buildings. The Brigade is issuing practical advice on matters such as switching off non-essential appliances, substituting older light bulbs with safer LED bulbs and ensuring adequate control measures are in place if construction work is still being carried out on site. It's also essential to ensure that fire safety systems and equipment are maintained in good working order. Fire detection and alarm systems, for example, should be subject to regular testing and maintenance.
Having an up-to-date emergency response salvage plan is equally as important. This is something, suggests the LFB, that venue managers can produce remotely. The plan, which will give firefighters a strategy for their salvage operations, should identify the priority items that need to be removed from the building, along with other important information such as the size of the item, the number of people required to lift it, any security fastenings that need to be removed and also the exact location of the item within the premises.
Keep message for managers
London Fire Brigade’s Heritage Team leader William Knatchbull said: “Help us to help you is my key message to building managers right now. We’re lucky to have so many beautiful historic buildings in London and we need to make sure they're treasured by generations to come. Currently, many special buildings are closed to the public, so it’s even more imperative for salvage plans to be in place. With less people on site, there may be a lack of information available to our fire crews in the first instance. Having a salvage plan available will allow us to begin our salvage operations in a formulated manner. Emergency contact lists should be reviewed given that, in the current climate, some key staff members may be unable to attend in the event of an emergency.”
Knatchbull added: “Many of London’s venues have emergency response salvage plans in place and work closely with us, but there are still plenty we are yet to hear from and, while they may have plans in place, it would be prudent to work with us to ensure the plans are appropriate to be used by our firefighters in an emergency salvage situation.”