As an organisation NAHFO has been established for well over 30 years. It is currently made up of 12 regional branches, overseen by a National Executive Committee (NEC).
The association’s objectives/aims are:
1. To promote & encourage the highest standards of fire safety in healthcare premises
2. To improve the status and career prospects of all health service fire officers/advisors
3. To provide training for and dissemination of information to its national membership
4. To establish liaison with other like minded organisations where there is a common interest consistent with those of the association.
NHS fire officer’s work as specialist advisors to their organisations, be they Foundation Trust hospitals, Mental Health Facilities, Teaching hospitals, GP Surgeries, Health Centres or Clinics etc. Most NHS organisations have a vast and varied estate under their control, invariably spread over large geographic areas, the day to day management of which can be challenging as far as fire safety is concerned.
NAHFO is widely and quite rightly regarded as one of the leading authorities for healthcare fire safety and has been responsible in partnership with other organisations and groups, for producing what is widely seen as the accepted guidance/best practice reference material currently in use within the NHS.
NAHFO has had links with the BFSA over a number of years with members serving on the association’s Governing Council, indeed the councils current chairman is himself a current NAHFO Fire Advisor working for a Foundation Trust Teaching Hospital based in North Yorkshire.
The vast majority of healthcare fire advisor’s currently working in the NHS are amongst some of the most experienced you would find anywhere. Many current NAHFO members have previously served in the Local Authority Fire and Rescue Services or in the military (RAF Fire & Rescue Service/DFRMO).
Thankfully fires are rare within the NHS, but the risks are very real. The hazardous materials found on most hospital sites can contribute quite significantly to the very real possibility of a fire occurring. Where on a day to day basis would you find so many hazards in one place, be they Chemical, Radiological or Biological substances or the varied types of compressed and piped gases, which can include liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen. Add into this mix the vulnerability of some of the patients and the vast numbers of people on site 24/7 and it soon becomes obvious the levels of responsibility taken on by the NAHFO fire advisor’s.
We obviously focus on the safety of the individuals first and foremost but we must also make every effort to ensure that our respective employers have a shield of compliance in place in order to protect them and to ensure the continued delivery of a first class service to the community.
Every day NAHFO members play a pivotal role, along with their colleagues in maintaining a safe working environment for everybody. They are part of a national team contributing to the continuing legacy that is the NHS.