First-of-its-kind Scottish training centre aims to reduce commercial kitchen fires

Kitchens ,Bars and exteriors

The first specialist training centre for indoor air hygiene in commercial buildings and grease extraction cleaning in kitchens has been launched in Scotland.

The Stirling-based school is run by AEME Scotland Ltd – set up as a collaborative venture between Simone Hart Sibbald, managing director of Perfect Service Solutions, and Devon-based training experts AEME Ltd – in a bid to improve air quality standards and reduce commercial kitchen fires.

Courses at the centre, in Stirling Enterprise Park, will support the industry’s primary standard for ventilation hygiene (BSEN 15780) and the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) Guide to Good Practice – Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems (TR19).

They will also cover Inspection and Testing of Fire and Smoke Dampers supporting BS9999 and the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.

They cater for firms working in ductwork cleaning and ventilation hygiene across Scotland and the North of England as well as officials such as fire safety and environmental health officers.

The first group of students recently graduated from a course in ventilation hygiene and the next training programme begins later this month.

AEME Scotland director, Hart Sibbald, said: “This is the first centre of its kind in Scotland and there’s been a huge gap in the market until now.

“We want to raise the credibility of the engineering services industry and get rid of bad practice which can happen when people are not trained properly. This is about protecting lives and business assets.

“If ductwork is not cleaned to a high standard, we will see more kitchen fires bringing with them the risk of death and injury plus financial losses.”

Many accidental fires in commercial buildings are caused by cooking appliances and can be worse if a blaze spreads through poorly maintained grease extraction systems and ductwork.

Meanwhile, poor indoor air quality has been linked to deaths and long-term health problems and reinforces the need for well-run ventilation systems.

Ms Hart Sibbald said: “It is astonishing that in the 21st Century we seem to be losing the battle to clean up the air we breathe.

“Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to our health and – particularly shaming – to the health of our children.

“We need to ensure buildings are ‘safe havens’ which protect occupants from the worst effects of pollution – and by addressing available ventilation solutions it is possible to create indoor ‘clean air zones’.”

The AEME practical courses cover all aspects of ductwork cleaning and ventilation hygiene and are registered with the CIBT NI (Construction Industry Training Board).

Students learn everything from what equipment to use, methods of cleaning, the testing involved, the evidence needed for any work done and the guidelines and legislation they must adhere to.

Courses are being delivered in collaboration with AEME Ltd – national specialists in ductwork cleaning training – and will initially be led by its chief executive Peter Reid.

He said: “This training centre will lead the way in improved air quality and standards in Scotland. It will train people to the right standards and make responsible people aware of the current regulations for air quality and kitchen extract standards.

“Simone is a leading light in the industry and the ideal person to take this forward in Scotland. The quality of the training combined with her aspiration and drive will make this a real Centre of Excellence for Scotland.”

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