Hertfordshire is bucking the trend when it comes to fire risk assessments, with more carried out than in any other area of England.
With the latest Home Office statistics showing a record low for fire safety inspections, Hertfordshire county has seen a slight increase, with Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service completing 986 fire safety audits on buildings in 2019-20.
This was 765 more than the 221 inspections recorded the previous year. It was also a big increase on the 240 done in 2010-11, when comparable recorded began.
Buildings tested include care homes, hospitals and high-rises, as well as schools and shops, and blocks of flats.
Across England, the number of Audits completed falling to a record low of 48,400 last year – 43% fewer than in 2010-11.
Says Jamie Allam, CEO Amthal Fire & Security: “Whilst it’s great to see a rise in fire risk assessments across Hertfordshire, it is critical we pull together to make sure tragedies such as Grenfell Tower never happen again. And we don’t need to rely on our resource stretched fire and rescue services to be fire safe.”
“Fire risk assessments carried out by trained personnel, ensure compliance to standards. The penalties for failure to comply will be much tougher with the introduction of the Government’s Fire Safety and responding Building Safety Bill.”
“But alongside compliance, building managers and property owners have a duty of care for the fire safety of all who live and work or operate on their site. This is at all times and not just as a ‘one off’ check, but also that regular maintenance checks are scheduled, which can all be organised around work and lifestyles.”
Amthal is trained in all aspects of fire safety, and performs bespoke fire risk assessments in partnership with building managers and property owners, based on the following (not exclusive to) five steps.
Step 1 – Identify people at risk
- Have you identified who is at risk?
- Have you identified why they are at risk?
Step 2 – Identify fire hazards
- Have you identified all potential fuel sources?
- Have you identified all potential ignition sources?
- Have you identified all potential sources of oxygen?
Step 3 – Evaluate the risk
- Are your fire safety measures adequate?
- Means for detecting a fire
- Fire extinguishers
- Escape routes
- Escape route lighting
- Tests and maintenance
Step 4 – Record your findings
- Have you recorded the significant findings of your assessments?
- Are your records available for inspection by the enforcing authority?
- Have you recorded what you have done to remove or reduce the risk?
Step 5 – Review and revise
- Do you review your fire safety risk assessment when there is any reason to suspect that your assessment is no longer valid?
- Has been a significant change in your premises that has affected the fire risk or your fire safety measures?
- Having reviewed your fire safety risk assessment, are the fire safety measures still adequate?
Jamie concluded: “We know businesses are dealing with so many different challenges in light of COVID-19 and ensuring a safe return to work environment. However, we urge that fire safety is not moved down the priority list. Our trained fire safety team can work with responsible persons to ensure a seamless fire risk assessment is carried out on a regular basis. Together, we can ‘protect what’s precious.”