Do you have a fire strategy in place at your business premises? If not you should have! Since the Fire Service stopped issuing Fire Certificates every business owner is legally responsible for having their building assessed for risk and putting a strategy in place.
We know this seems like just another niggling piece of red tape but not only could it save lives but it could save you a great deal of money. The cost of fires can be astronomical and of course if you don’t have an adequate plan in place and be seen to be active in this area you could incur fines.
A blow by blow plan
Here are our tips to ensure you stay compliant within the new fire safety laws:
- Nominate a member of staff to be ‘fire risk officer’; if they have fire risk assessment training so much the better
- Get a fire risk assessment for your building either by your officer or by an outside agency. This will look at all the areas of risk and give you a report which you can use to address any issues
- From the report draw up a check-off list to ensure that these issues are dealt with in order of listed priority
- Make sure you have a plan in place in case of fire and that your staff are well versed in; this should include how they make their way to the escape route, who is responsible for closing doors and checking everyone is out of the building and other details
- Have regular fire drills so that in the case of an emergency, your team will know exactly what to do and panic won’t take over
- Have a clear escape route and make sure it is kept clear at all times
- Ensure you have sufficient fire figh
ting equipment and that it is in good working order. This includes fire or smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers and fire blankets
- Get your fire fighting equipment checked regularly to keep it in good working order
- Make sure that your fire risk officer knows which equipment or risks should be checked regularly. This ensures that your fire risk assessment is an on-going process rather than something which is looked at once a year
- Record what is checked and when it is checked for your records
- Put training for fire safety in place for any staff that need it
- Make sure that your Fire Risk Officer liaises with your First Aid Officer
The list may seem excessive especially if you don’t have many employees but it is far better to be safe rather than sorry after the event. It is good for compliance with the legal requirements too.
Time to get started
First things first, get your fire risk assessments completed so that you have a starting point. It’s never too soon and then you can start ensuring that you are legal in this department and get your staff up to speed.
About the Author: Harry Price is a free-lance writer and personal trainer. He enjoys guest blogging and travelling the country.