Fire is an ever-present danger in the world around us. No matter whether you are in your own home, visiting friends, at work, in a public library, or anywhere else in or around a building, there is always a danger of a fire starting. The actual risk will be dependent upon a lot of variables. For instance, in a manufacturing company, there may be the need to use flammable materials during the course of production, so the risk is likely to be greater than in a public library. But nonetheless, the risk – to a greater or lesser degree – is always there.
Hence the reason for the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Act 2005, the intention of which is to reduce the risk of fire in all non-domestic buildings as far as is practicable. If you own a business, or anywhere else that the public has access to, such as an art gallery, a gaming arcade, and so on, then you have certain legal obligations under the Act.
One of the most important is to carry out a fire risk assessment of your premises and, if you have five or more employees, keep a written record of it. A fire risk assessment is a methodical look at your premises, the people within it, the activities that are going on there, and the chances of a fire starting and causing harm to occupiers and others nearby.
A fire risk assessment must be carried out by the “responsible person” or someone appointed by him or her. So, if you are a business owner, you could appoint a senior employee as your responsible person, or you could call in an outside fire risk assessor such as ourselves at UK-Fire Risk Assessments. Our team are all highly skilled and trained assessors who do this for a living, so have vast experience.
Furthermore, we cover the whole country, so there is no need to go searching for something such as “fire risk assessor near me” because we have you covered wherever you are. Not only that, but our fire risk assessment fees are based on the size of your premises, and they start at just £195 + VAT which is considerably less than some of our competitors.
The responsible person must also be “competent”, but the Fire Safety Order does not provide a definition of exactly what the word means. Furthermore, someone who may be competent at assessing the fire risk in an art gallery may be very much out of his or her depth doing the same thing in a filling station on the M1.
The object of a fire risk assessment is to reduce, as far as possible, the likelihood of a fire breaking out in the premises. It also covers the safe evacuation of people on the premises if a fire does break out. Depending upon the size and function of your premises, there can be quite a number of things to take into consideration.
The first thing to do is to identify possible sources of ignition. You need to assess the likelihood of fire hazards such as combustible fuels and other combustible materials which could be dangerous. You also need to assess things that are used in the course of your work, so this might be electrical equipment or a manufacturing process.
You also need to consider who may be at risk and why. This can include not only your own employees, but also visitors to your premises if you run something like a store, or anywhere else open to the public. Furthermore, they may possibly be disabled, so you need to take that into account when it comes to evacuation.
In addition, if anyone wanted to start a fire deliberately, is there any material around that they could use? Is any fuel or other material secure?
You also need to have a warning system if a fire does break out. You need a plan to evacuate the building with easy fire exits and fire doors where appropriate. You also need to have fire extinguishers in the right places and of the right type.
In addition, you need to have fire training for your employees. They need to know how to use the extinguishers, and what to do in order to escape.
So, there is a lot to consider when carrying out a fire risk assessment, which is why many people prefer to leave it to us as the experts.