Background of the studyAccording to Flores (1983:11-14), the process of reducing fire incidents and eliminating their frequency and consequences requires adoption of SARA methodology (table 1) and 3A model (figure 1). The term SARA is abbreviation for Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment. 3A model is abbreviation for Analysis, Assessment and Action oriented model of community fire safety risk management. Wotham (1997:66-71) suggests that the process of scanning an incident is a subset of data and information on fire incident, their frequency, causes and different agency potential to manage the incident. Analysis of an incident takes into account details of the incident, time, date, method of incident control, method of incident prevention and possible future intervention improvement for the incident management.
Response of an incident refers to strategies that are appropriate for resolving an incident and requires partnership of different authorities and agencies. Assessment of incident involves evaluation of measures and strategies that can result into efficient response whose consequences should include reduced economic costs of fire, loss of property, damage to the building, pollution to the environment by ensuring ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14004:2004 series on environment management are satisfied.
Assessment of an incident response tools is affected by poor partnership between agencies procedures and lack of skills to implement appropriate response. IntroductionCharters (2006:81-86) and Kirby (2003) argue that problem orientated partnership is the key to community fire safety and is a product of input of different incident management agencies. David Langdon consultancy/Arup fire (1996) points out that community fire safety is an effort towards bringing together different agencies like architects, home designers, ambulance services, insurance agencies, community leaders, fire rescue agencies, environment upgrading agencies and local government authorities into seeking sustainable solutions to fire incidents and formulation of the best way forward to fire risk management strategies.
According to Audit Commission (1999), community fire safety is modeled to bring about buildings that are fire resistive, buildings equipped with both active and passive fire protection and equip users with fire safety and precaution education. Eisma (1990) proposes that projects on community safety should work towards elimination of outcomes of fire incidents through reduction of economic costs of fire. Mishan (1976) indicate community partnership on safety should ensure buildings constructed meet estimated building life expectancy to warrant active and passive fire protection. Statement of the problemGambatese, Hinge and Haas (1997:32-49) indicate that many old buildings don’t comply with building regulation and regulatory reform (fire safety) order 2005.
They are not installed with automatic water sprinklers and automatic smoke detectors. Lunch (1994) suggests many high-rise buildings lack staged or zoned evacuation. In many premises, fire risk assessment is not carried out and fire alarms are not operational because their batteries are flat or their lenses are covered with dust due to lack of maintenance.
Guvanessian and Holinky (1996) argue that many residents don’t understand fire safety and precautions and their building shave no emergency escape plans in the event of an incident. In many households, electrical circuits are characterized by frayed leads and many appliances share the same sockets predisposing risk of electrical overload that leads into overheating of fuse. Gornick (1997:41-42) provides that some residents don’t turn off or unplug cables while in others, fuses used are for appliances with higher power rating and this exposes appliances to risks of power surge.
There is also negligence in handling of candles characterized by lack of heat resistant surfaces and candle holders that are stable. The buildings lack exterior ladders, rails and elevators for alternate escape during fire indents. Engineering systems-Barker (1991) argues many residents don’t understand procedures for reporting fire outbreaks to the fire and rescue services or any skills in using fire extinguishers.