Wednesday, August 06, 2008
London Fire Brigade Finale. 2005 - 2008.
In 2003 I was offered the opportunity to get involved in the legal side of the fire service, helping to police fire safety law and legislation in the London Borough of Barnet. In any job that I have been involved in I have always been an outside man and very active, to take on this job would mean spending 60% of my time behind a desk and I thought 'will I manage to cope being stuck behind a desk and away from the day to day action that is the operational side of the London Fire Brigade'. I bit the bullet and went for it, it was after all only on a trial basis I was always going to be returning to operational duty in a few months.
Let me explain more about what Fire Safety teams do or what the role of a fire safety officer is.
My role would be to enforce the relevant fire legislation and to help educate businesses, and where legislation was not being followed to the required standards to advise or prosecute with the help of the London Fire Brigades legal team. Prosecution could vary from a warning or a fine and in the more serious cases, a prison sentence.
In summary, the primary focus of fire safety is to ensure public safety from fire and its effects, in places used for commercial, business and leisure activities, and that the law is complied with. (Sound like a text book.)
I remained in Fire Safety for 9 months and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. During my 9 months in the team I took every qualification that I could and attended every course that was available to me, I shadowed more experienced officers to learn the trade. Fire Safety is viewed as a kind of black art within the London Fire Brigade because the only people that fully understand it are those that have been involved with it, and this applies from the lowest ranks right to the very top.
After 9 months I returned to station and got straight back into the old routine, it was as if I had never been away, nine to five was gone and back to shifts, nights, weekend and public holiday working.
In 2005 I was offered a position in the Soho Fire Safety team, probably the busiest and most challenging team in London, the job would include promotion and yet more courses and qualifications, I jumped at the chance and I was in. On top of the previously described responsibilities I would also be given the task of consulting with Westminster City Council's building control, I would also consult with planners and architects on fire safety systems in buildings offer general advise to the business community where necessary. We all had specialist roles within the team and I dealt with premises holding a gambling licence, so clubs and casinos. The Soho area of London is a great place to work and I enjoyed my final years with Soho team.
And so in a nut shell that was my working life with the London Fire Brigade, 30 years and 2 months service, how will they continue without me!!
You can find out more about the Soho area of London here.
You can find out more about Fire Safety at work here
"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere". Frank A Clark.