Fire Safety at Barnet House Update 2
Below is a copy of an email sent to all staff yesterday.
“Wednesday 12 September 2018
Fire alarm test at Barnet House last night
We are pleased to let you know that the comprehensive fire alarm test we carried out last night at Barnet House has confirmed that the fire alarm system is fully operational. We tested all alarm sounders on every floor, and will continue to carry out these checks on our normal rolling basis.”
This is Barnet UNISON response to senior management in Barnet Council, Barnet Group and Capita.
I do need to address the First Team email which went out to all staff yesterday which stated:
“We are pleased to let you know that the comprehensive fire alarm test we carried out last night at Barnet House has confirmed that the fire alarm system is fully operational. We tested all alarm sounders on every floor, and will continue to carry out these checks on our normal rolling basis.”
I was present for the test on Tuesday evening (8.30 pm). Those present included myself, Helen Davies Barnet UNISON Branch Chair and a custodian and one security guard.
I want to make sure that everyone knows the facts. There was no comprehensive fire alarm test and we did not confirm that the fire alarm system is fully operational. All we were able to do that night was check that when the alarm was triggered that the Klaxons were working. As I said before, I can confirm that all Klaxons on that occasion worked apart from one on the 10th Floor. Since I reported to you yesterday I have not had anyone contact me about which Klaxon. Can someone confirm that the Klaxon has been repaired?
On Tuesday 11 September in the morning some staff evacuated because they heard an alarm and others didn’t hear an alarm.
In conversations and correspondence it is very clear that there is some pretty fundamental issues with the Fire Alarm system. We have heard that testing on some occasions everything is deemed to be fine then we have an incident and it isn’t working.
A comprehensive fire alarm test which will confirm the fire alarm system is fully operational would require that all Fire Alarm points are fully working to be tested. To date this has not been completed. One of our reasonable demands was for a union rep to be present when this is carried out.
Fire Evacuation is worryingly an ongoing issue as this Tuesday has demonstrated. Apart from fixing the Fire Alarm I am proposing Fire Safety training is rolled out to all staff across all services and staff in Barnet House as a matter of urgency.
Finally I want reiterate the four reasonable demands we have made:
- A trade union rep accompanies the testing of each Fire Alarm point in Barnet House.
- On the second floor the fire alarm removed is replaced as a matter of urgency
- The fire alarms which have a ten second delay are replaced with Fire Alarms that go off immediately.
- Immediate alternative working arrangements off site set up immediately pending the resolution of the fire alarm system and evacuation plan issues.
I agree that this matter cannot be resolved by an ongoing email chain which is why I am asking to meet with someone who is able to make decisions on Fire Safety as a matter of urgency and not Wait until next Tuesday.
PLEASE NOTE: Barnet UNISON will update our members of any further developments.