There are over 400,000 staff working for banks in Britain including such huge employers as Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds. With assets of over £5 trillion and huge property portfolios, it is inevitable that our financial institutions take fire safety very seriously.
Bank premises are relatively low risk but fires do occur although statistics are hard to find. Banks are not immune however and a blaze at the JPMorgan Chase Bank in Houston took hundreds of firefighters to put out the. The good news is there were no major injuries.
Modern banks have premises in all parts of the UK from small towns to large urban areas. Building use varies from retail branches to huge HQ sites often in multi-storey premises. Large banks often operate their own Data Centres which incorporate a range of modern and sophisticated fire protection systems.
With thousands of staff, it is vital that adequate training is given and that reflects the building type, size and risk profile that people work in.
These and other factors are taken into account in UK Fire Training courses for this sector.
ELECTRICAL HAZARDS –
Most office fires are caused by faulty electrical leads and overloaded sockets. Banks incorporate a wide range of electrical equipment for administration, processing transactions and security. Regular maintenance, PAT testing and periodical fixed wiring checks are needed to manage this risk. UKFT courses for office staff include tuition on how to minimize fire safety issues caused by electrical issues.
PEOPLE AT RISK
As well as thousands of employees, retail banking has to protect members of the public who can freely enter and leave their buildings. In an emergency, non-employees in particular do not respond efficiently or predictably and will need guidance. People with disabilities will need particular support and from upper levels, staff with disabilities will need PEEPS and evacuation aids such as Evac Chairs.
In the event of an emergency, banks have to balance the need to evacuate with the security of the premises. It may be necessary to evacuate customers away from the main exits and into the building to an alternative fire escape. Arson will also be a major concern and has to be taken into account in fire safety and related training.
BANK FIRE EXAMPLES
Increase in gangs blowing up London cash machines
The number of cash machines blown up by criminal gangs in London has increased by 2,000% in a year, according to a Freedom of Information response from the Metropolitan Police.
Criminals targeted 21 cash machines in 2014 in the capital compared with just one in 2013, pumping them with flammable gas before igniting them.
BBC London's Charlotte Franks spoke to pharmacy owner Shazid Karim whose business was damaged in an explosion, Jim Ingram, an explosives expert from London South Bank University, and Clive Nation from ATM security firm, Cennox.
Bank of Baroda fire 2015
A major fire broke out at the first floor of Bank of Baroda, Pitampura branch on Wednesday afternoon on August 5th.
As many as 12 fire tenders were rushed to the spot for firefighting operations. The main exit of the bank was blocked as the fire covered three sides inside the branch office.
According to sources, 26-year-old Vipul, PO, from Bihar died in accident. Vipul was helping others to escape the spot but he was a tuberculosis patient and started feeling suffocated in smoke. It was his first day in Pitampura's branch office.
The cause of fire is still not clear but the employees suspect short circuit in the air conditioner. Police is investigating the matter.