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Fire Risk Assessments

Identifying the potential risks

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

A Fire Risk Assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of a building or premises to identify and mitigate potential fire hazards and risks. It's a critical process to ensure the safety of occupants and visitors, as well as the protection of property and assets.

Does my business need a Fire Risk Assessment?

We actually cover this quite extensively on this page - Does my business need a Fire Risk Assessment?.  But in summary you might be exempt from needing a Fire Risk Assessment if you work alone and from home.  Or you don't work in a building.  There used to be a exemption for less than 5 employees, but that has been removed.  So in 99.99% of cases you are going to need a Fire Risk Assessment. 


Can I create my own Fire Risk Assessment?

No.  Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 says the person performing the Fire Risk Assessment must have "...sufficient training and experience or knowledge...".  Which means most business owners can no longer do their own Fire Risk Assessments.  The reasons for this are varied but can be summed up as follows:

  • In a fire situation, people have very little time to think.  So everything must be thought through in great detail in advance.  Everything should be almost intuitive.
  • Fire safety regulations and standards are very detailed and vary based on the type of premises, its use, and the number of occupants.
  • Professional fire risk assessors have the necessary training, qualifications, and experience to identify potential fire hazards that might not be obvious to an untrained eye.  They follow structured, standardised processes to ensure all potential risks are identified and properly addressed.
  • Assessors understand the nuances of fire behaviour, fire prevention measures, and the effectiveness of different control measures.  They use detailed checklists and methodologies to conduct a comprehensive assessment, reducing the chances of oversights.
  • If a fire were to occur and it was found that the Fire Risk Assessment was not conducted to a sufficient standard, the business owner could face legal liabilities.  Professional assessments can also be beneficial when dealing with insurance companies, as they demonstrate a proactive approach to fire safety, potentially leading to better insurance rates.


Why do you need a Fire Risk Assessment for your business?

There are 3 main reasons why you should really have a Fire Risk Assessment in place.

1. Legal Compliance: Article 9 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it a legal requirement for the Responsible Person to assess fire risks in the workplace.  Failure to comply can result in severe penalties which can include a custodial sentence and/or an unlimited fine.

2. Protecting Lives and Property: A Fire Risk Assessment is fundamentally about protecting lives.  In the event of a fire, detection and a swift evacuation are essential.  A thorough Fire Risk Assessment ensures that escape routes are easy to use, fire alarms are functional, there is sufficient lighting and firefighting equipment is readily available.  By identifying hazards and implementing safety measures, you create a much safer environment.

3. Preserving Business Continuity: A fire can have devastating consequences for your business, leading to property damage, loss of revenue, and reputational harm. A robust Fire Risk Assessment helps mitigate these risks by putting measures in place to prevent fires from occurring and, if they do, minimising their impact. This not only safeguards the people present.  But also ensures the continuity of your business operation. 


Why might you want to use Fire Safety Specialists?

There are 2 main reasons.  Firstly our aim is to make you 100% compliant with all fire safety regulations.   Whilst certainly the most important, a Fire Risk Assessment is just one of potentially up to 8 documents you might need.  Secondly, we don't do any servicing or remedial works.  Other fire safety companies sometimes use the assessment to 'find' work for their Fire Extinguisher servicing team.  Or 'notice' issues with fire doors that their joinery team could fix.  Being totally independent means we have no incentive to give you anything other than honest advice.

How does a Fire Risk Assessment fit with all the other services that we offer?

We speak to lots of people every day and most know they need a Fire Risk Assessment.  But depending on the business type, size and building there are a number of other items that might also be legally required.

1 - Fire Emergency Plan.  We said above how Fire Safety is all about planning in advance what you are going to do if a fire occurs.  In this document it detailed exactly what you are going to do if a fire is discovered or the fire alarm sounds, how people can evacuate, where the evacuation point is, how to report the fire to the Fire Service, plus any special tasks.  The latter could be turning off certain machinery, closing incoming gas valves, isolating the electricity or performing a sweep of the building to look for anyone who cannot evacuate on their own.

2 - Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP).  If the Fire Emergency Plan is the is summary evacuation plan, then a PEEP is there to add to this be asking "what are you going to do about disabled employees who might not be able to evacuate unaided".  Note that its not a easy as simply saying "no of my staff are disabled", a lot of disabled people can mask their issues.  Would you notice if someone always used the lift and not the stairs?  How about if someone has trouble if the lights are not working?  In a fire the lift should not be used and the electricity might also go off.

3 - General Emergency Evacuation Plan (GEEP).  Also like a PEEP, this is an add-on to the Fire Emergency Plan.  This one asks "are are you going to handle disabled guests or visitors who are not able to evacuate unaided".  This is especially important for places like pubs, restaurants, hotels or other entertainment venues.  

4 - Flat Information Pack.  In Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 there is a new provision for "information to residents of domestic premises" in relation to "...a building containing two or more sets of domestic premises".  What this mean in practice is that something like a pub with living accommodation above may need to provide specific fire safety information to the people living there.

5 - Fire Safety Training.  This is where things are all pulled together.  We've identified any general issues in the Fire Risk Assessment and created a Emergency Plan as to what we are going to do in fire.  Then we've done a GEEP and a PEEP to detail how we can manage people with disabilities.  But a plan on paper is, by itself, useless. We need everyone normally in the building to understand all this.  So everyone gets General Fire Safety Training, to make sure they can safely evacuate themselves.  Then we train the fire warden.  These people not only run the evacuation, but also are responsible for detailing with people identified in the GEEP and PEEP documents.

6 - Evacuation Drills.  So you've got all your paperwork in place and everyone is trained, what now?  Practice, practice and more practice.  Firstly because some people can panic in a real evacuation and practising it can help.  But secondly performing a drill can often highlight some areas where the original plans don't work exactly as anticipated. 

7 - Fire Logbook App.  In the Fire Risk Assessment its likely that dozens of items such as fire doors, signs and fire extinguishers where identified as being vital to the fire safety of the building.  These need checking more often than the annual Fire Risk Assessment.  So we've created our own app to allow clients to see what needs doing and tick things off each day, week or month. 

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