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Triple A Solutions gives The Last Word on the Fire Safety Act

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Elspeth Grant, Industry Expert at Triple A Solutions, gives her view on the latest changes to the Fire Safety Act

Tell me a little about Triple A Solutions and your personal background?

We were founded in 2003 to look primarily at access into buildings and usage of buildings by disabled people, but even from the start we looked also about how people got out from buildings. In 2009 we started to work specialising in the area of egress for disabled people, producing strategies and personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs).

I come from training background. In my ‘before’ life I spent 16 years delivering systems integration PFI programmes from so electronic e-learning, data, integration is part of my DNA. My recent work at Triple A has been on the The PEEPs for Professionals Foundation Course, which has been accredited by the Institute of Fire Engineers who are awarded participants 6 hours Continuous Professional Development points for successful completion of the course.

What is your view on the fire industry with regards to people with disabilities?

The fire industry is one of the most interesting industries I’ve ever working in – but its a little fragmented. Within building management and fire, you’ve got highly experienced fire professionals, highly experienced health and safety professionals and building managers, and highly experienced access consultants who look at disability. However, they tend to be very focused on their own area and have virtually no knowledge of the other disciplines. A fire professional very experienced in fire safety but limited knowledge of accessibility for a disabled person. The Triple A Solutions platform is an effort to marry all those disciplines together.

Can you talk a little about the latest developments from the Grenfell Inquiry?

I think they’ve done a really good job of highlighting the issues and I’m going to be looking forward to the next report. There was an in depth focus on the PEEPS which I wasn’t expecting.

The local government have recognised in the Phase 1 recommendation that PEEPS should be required by law. I’ve always had a slight reservation on this because of its complexity. If you take article 14 and 15 of the Fire Safety Order, it is very clear that it has to be possible for everyone to move away from immediate danger and for everyone to be able to leave the building. For a disabled person who can’t do stairs and there is no lift, they have to have a method for doing so which so often isn’t there.

This could be any of us tomorrow. We are only one visit to the GP, accident, telephone call and this could be us. I always say to people: would you tell someone you love not to evacuate the building?

How is this going to impact fire rescue services?

This Education Inclusion Support Service (EISS) consultation is basically saying all the building managers are going to have to do is to compile a list and put it in the premises information box. Are we seriously thinking in 2022 the best we can do is bits of paper put in a box that may or may not be secure that 3am on a wet windy night a fire fighter is going to have to get hold of and use? The EEIS approach transfers legal liability back onto the fire and rescues services and that is enormous. It means they’re going to have strategies, operational procedures and policies.

This article was originally published in the June edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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