A fire is a devastating event that can destroy any business, regardless of size. Most fires are preventable so it makes sense that a responsible business owner would take any steps necessary to protect employees, premises and business assets.
Fire safety regulations are designed to ensure that the risk of fire is minimised and that in the event of a fire, the procedures and regulations in place, help to minimise the damage.
It is vital for every building owner and manager to stay up-to-date on fire regulations. It’s not just your duty as a responsible business owner. It’s the law.
For Fire Safety Compliance You Must:
• Carry out a fire risk assessment.
• Ensure sufficient fire safety training for all staff.
• Have an evacuation plan and fire safety arrangements in place.
• Ensure provision of information to employees.
• Have appropriate fire safety equipment installed and maintained.
What is Deemed to Be a Business?
In fire safety terms, the buildings that must comply with fire safety regulations are known as ‘non-domestic premises’.
Non-domestic Premises are:
- all workplaces and commercial premises.
all premises that the public have access to.
the common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings.
What Size Business Needs to Follow Fire Safety Rules?
It is your duty to identify fire risks and hazards in your premises and take appropriate action. All workplaces and commercial premises with more than five people are required to follow fire safety legislation. Most of it is common sense but if that was all it took the fire rescue services wouldn’t have attended 157,563 fires last year. (source: Fire and rescue incident statisitics.)
The important thing is to know that you have done everythibng you need to do be safe and compliant. Fire safety is a large responsibility, and it’s important to have all aspects up-to-date.
The Responsible Person.
Each non-domestic premises needs a designated responsible person who is responsible for fire safety. This will usually be the owner of the business or landlord in a small business. A large business may have several people designated as a responsible person.
It is the duty of the RP (responsible person) to ensure that all aspects of fire safety are implemented and up to date. This includes fire risk assessments, emergency plans and staff training. The RP is also responsible for any areas that the public have access to.
Creating a Fire Risk Assessment.
The responsible person is required to ensure that the fire safety risk assessment is reviewed and updated regularly. The assessment is used to identify fire hazards and note what can be done to reduce the risk or remove them altogether. The assessment must also consider who would be affected in the event of the fire. Your fire risk assessment needs to be a written record.
Can you Conduct Your Own Fire Risk Assessment?
There are several companies who offer a fire risk assessment service but you can assess and complete your own risk assessment if you wish. There are plenty of resources online to help you, including a downloadable 5 Step Checklist fro the .GOV website.
Checklist to help people responsible for business premises to complete a fire safety risk assessment.
How often do I need to do a fire risk assessment?
Legislation doesn’t state a precise frequency for conducting a fire risk assessment.
However Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that the fire risk assessment needs to be kept up to date and done again if there has been significant change in the environment. We recommend that the responsible person completes a fire risk assessment at least once per year or as stated when there has been a significant change in the environment. This is in line with other experts in the industry.
It really makes sense to put the fire safet assessment date in whatever calendar you use and make it mandatory for it to be completed.
How Will the Danger of Fire be Communicated?
Businesses need to have the necessary warning systems in place for their employees. Fire, smoke and CO2 detectors can automatically emit sound when they detect a threat while manual alarms must be pulled or pressed if an emergency arises. RPs should make sure that these alarm systems are tested every week so as not to miss any potential threats from fires before it is too late.
Exits, Escape Routes and Fire Doors.
Fire escape routes should be indicated by green signs.
Fire Exit Signs.
Fire exit signs should clearly indicate the direction of travel to exit a building. Such a sign is vital in the event of a fire or other emergency, and Fire exit signs are a key part of health and safety in the workplace.
Stick to one type of fire exit sign as people in panic need to recognise the sign in a split second so familiarity will help. Fire exit signs are green and should be directional to avoid any confusion.
Current legislation states that a fire exit location must be clearly marked with a fire exit sign – and the sign to be compliant with British standards and safety legislation. Signs and exit path should be kept free of all obstructions including the visibility of signs.