As the number of fire safety fines imposed becomes more prevalent we take a look at the ‘FINDs’ system and what it means for businesses.
The ‘FINDs’ system, standing for Fire Internetworked Data System, links all Fire and Rescue Services throughout the country and enables nationwide tracking of compliance levels.
Originally set up to pay particular attention to industry wide issues that may be developing, it also offers enforcing officers a means by which to track company specific issues in larger multi-site organisations.
So how does FINDs work and what are the implications for organisations? In summary, if an enforcing officer visits an organisation’s premises and identifies issues, these can be logged onto the system making them visible to enforcing officers in other parts of the country. Similarly the enforcement officer can do an active search to see if there have been similar issues with the organisation at other sites.
If the same issue is identified in several locations, an active ‘ping’ or notification can be sent to alert ALL the Fire and Rescue Service’s’ enforcing officers to a potential endemic problem which may warrant further investigation.
Together with the increased levels of information networking being undertaken via the Chief Fire Officers Association web portal, this can have wide-reaching implications for companies spread over a number of locations, as a problem encountered across more than one site may bring the whole company under the scrutiny of the enforcing officers and precipitate a time-consuming and disruptive investigation and possible prosecution.
Where a prosecution does ensue, the system makes it easier for the authorities to co-ordinate information and evidence nationally. We are aware that the system is currently being used to help in the prosecution of several nationwide companies including a well-known, national pub chain.
The best way not to run foul of the system and avoid costly fines is to adopt a systematic approach to compliance. Identifying what needs to be done and then appointing the people best placed to take responsibility for delivering compliance can be challenging. The more complex your organisation, the greater those challenges can be. This is where Metro Safety can help. We can support you through the compliance process from the initial fire risk assessment right through to emergency planning, the testing and maintenance of your fire protection equipment and the training and drilling of your staff. In some cases it may be appropriate to refine and develop a more comprehensive fire safety policy. Whatever your requirements, Metro Safety is happy to tailor our services and offer the level of support that suits you best.