According to government statistics, fire and rescue services in England alone attended approximately 183,000 fires in 2018 – 2019. That works out at just over 500 fires every single day of the year! That is a lot of fires.
Believe it or not, those figures – while an increase of 2% over the previous year – were actually down on the number of fires attended in 2003 – 2004 which just exceeded one million! This says a lot for the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which made it mandatory for all business owners and landlords to carry out a fire assessment of their premises and review it on a regular basis. While the figures are much lower than 2003 – 2004, they have started to creep back up again since 2014 – 2015, so we have no reason to sit back and be complacent.
The Fire Safety Order, as it is known for short, basically makes it compulsory for everyone in charge of anything other than a private residential single-family home to carry out a fire safety assessment of their premises. This refers to an individual who is known as the “responsible person” which the Order refers to as follows:
“You’re responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:
anyone else with control of the premises, for example, a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent, or risk assessor”.
To all intents and purposes, if you are the “boss” then that’s you! You could be a farmer, but you are responsible for the cattle in your cattle shed.
The problem that most people in business, or even those in charge of a non-profit, a charity shop, or anything else, have, is that they really don’t have a clue about how to carry out a fire risk assessment. That is by no means a criticism: if you have not had appropriate training in fire risk assessment, why would you know? Yet as it stands, you are the responsible person and it is your job to see to it that an appropriate risk assessment is carried out.
However, there is some good news, and that is that even though you are the responsible person, the law says that you can appoint someone else to carry out the risk assessment for you. That person must be competent and, indeed, is referred to as a “competent person”. That can lead to further problems, because if, for example, you appoint your office manager to be a competent person, how do you know if he or she is competent? They might be very good at running the office, but what do they know about fire risks? Quite probably no more than you do yourself. We are somewhat going around in circles here.
The answer, as with most things, is that you need a professional. If your home or office needs rewiring, you wouldn’t dream of doing it yourself. You would call in an electrician. When you need someone to lead your sales team, you would appoint a sales manager. When you need an expert in girpryology (whatever that might be) you would appoint a girpryologist.
Yet for some reason, some business-people think that they can undertake a fire risk assessment on their own! Believe it or not, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 allows you to do just that! Heaven knows why, because it requires a specialist who has trained in exactly that speciality. If it didn’t, UK-Fire Risk Assessments simply wouldn’t exist, because everyone would have a go themselves.
Yet the fact remains that we are busy little bees! That’s because many responsible persons are just that – responsible. They understand that it is beyond their capabilities and that they could make a drastic mistake, and they obviously want the best for their employees and customers. For the small fees that we charge (starting at just £195.00), you get a fire risk assessment that you know is going to be 100% accurate and will keep your business compliant with the law. Not only that, but it also saves you the time of trying – and failing – to do it yourself. That means that you can get on with what you do best and let us get on with your fire risk assessment.