Controlling fire risks is a legally binding part of managing a property.
As stated by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (commonly known as the Fire Safety Order,) there is a legal duty for ‘the responsible person’ to take all reasonable steps to ensure that fire safety levels are appropriate at all times.
The segment within the legislation focussing on fire risk assessments opens with the following:
“The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under this Order.”
Fire risk assessments (or FRAs) act as a snapshot of how protected any given property ensuring the safety of its occupants in the event of a fire. The FRA also identifies corrective actions and further steps to achieve an appropriate level of fire safety.
This legislation applies to all non-domestic properties including commercial and public premises, such as shops, factories, warehouses and offices, but also schools, nursing homes as well as businesses providing sleeping accommodation.
It also relates to sheltered housing as well as the communal areas of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs); though not to the individual dwellings within the HMO.
Commercial Fire Safety
For businesses employing five or more employees, there is a legal requirement to not only carry out a fire risk assessment, but to document findings. This should be in an official log book, that also highlights weekly and monthly testing schedules.
Areas that need to be considered in almost all fire risk assessments are fire detection systems, emergency exits and routes (including evacuation plans), firefighting equipment and the availability of information and advice to the building’s occupants.
Issues such as the specific needs of vulnerable people and the safe storage of any dangerous substances must also be considered. Likewise, any changes to the occupancy or activities within premises must be reflected in the fire risk assessment.
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To see how Amthal Fire & Security can support you with carrying out compliant fire risk assessments, alongside associated tools and guidance on keeping your property ‘fire safe’ please get in touch.