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SFJ Awards launches fire safety checks-focused qualification

20 June 2023

IN ORDER to support Fire and Rescue Services in continuing to deliver their vital work across local communities, SFJ Awards has bolstered its suite of Ofqual-approved fire safety qualifications with the launch of the Level 2 Award in Carrying Out Fire Safety Checks.

Fire and Rescue Services attended more than 180,000 fires in the UK last year, with the majority taking place in homes and workplaces. Of these fire episodes, it’s estimated that up to 90% of them could have been prevented had the appropriate fire safety measures been in place.

An effective tool that enables Fire and Rescue Services to educate and inform businesses and the public about fire safety, and also identify those premises where additional regulation may be needed, comes in the shape of fire safety checks.

Developed in collaboration with the National Fire Chiefs Council and Fire and Rescue Services from across the country (among them the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the London Fire Brigade), the new SFJ Awards qualification enables learners to identify and offer advice to businesses and check that key fire safety measures are in place.

Upon completion of the qualification, learners have the option to progress to the Level 3 Certificate in Fire Safety (Fire Auditors) and also the Level 4 Diploma in Fire Safety (Fire Inspectors) qualifications.

Knowledge of the built environment

Jenni Seex (head of protection at the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service) commented: “This qualification is vital when it comes to our ambitions for improving knowledge and understanding about the built environment across our front line operational staff and equipping them to deliver fire safety checks that will keep our communities safe.”

Seex continued: “We have committed to an ambitious plan of delivering this qualification for all operational crews over a three-year period [that’s a total of circa 1,100 learners]. We want to ensure they can provide basic advice to business owners on their legal responsibilities and collect risk information that will inform our risk-based inspection programme. There’s also a need to identify immediate risk to life in the event of a fire, make an immediate referral to the fire safety team and identify areas of non-compliance for triage and follow-up actions.”

Richard Fowler, head of service delivery and improvement at the National Fire Chief's Council, explained: “The clear majority of fires are preventable if correct fire safety rules are observed. We are pleased that the Level 2 Award in Carrying Out Fire Safety Checks is now available for Fire and Rescue Services personnel to use.”

Fowler went on to note: “This qualification will support the very valuable work that Fire and Rescue Services transact to ensure that residents – and particularly so the more vulnerable members of our community – and employees are sufficiently protected. It’s central to ensuring that Fire and Rescue Services staff are equipped with the up-to-date knowledge and skills needed to develop fire safety competence and reduce fire risk.”

Heightened focus

Commenting on the qualification’s launch, Candace Miller (managing director of SFJ Awards) observed: “We launch this qualification at a time of heightened focus on fire safety. In this era of increasing costs, there’s a risk that some organisations may be tempted to cut corners when it comes to fire safety. It therefore remains of the utmost importance that the Fire and Rescue Services workforce is able to counteract that risk through fire safety checks.”

Miller concluded: “By equipping learners at every level with the very latest knowledge and skills, our Fire and Rescue Services can continue to combat fires that have the potential to devastate so many lives.”

The total qualification time for the Level 2 Award in Carrying Out Fire Safety Checks is 20 hours, with a guided learning component of 12 hours.

*Further information is available online at https://sfjawards.com/qualifications/fire-and-rescue/award-in-carrying-out-fire-safety-checks/