• What is an Emergency Plan?

    You need to have an emergency plan for dealing with a fire situation. The purpose of an emergency plan is to ensure that the people in your premises know what to do if there is a fire and that the premises can be safely evacuated. If you or your organisation employ five or more people or your premises are licensed or an alterations notice requiring it is in force, then details of your emergency plan must be recorded. Even if it is not required, it is good practice to keep a record.

    You must give clear and relevant information and appropriate instructions to your staff and the employers of other people working in your premises, such as contractors, about how to prevent fires and what they should do if there is a fire. If you intend to employ a child, you must inform the parents of the significant risks you have identified and the precautions you have taken. You must also co-operate and co-ordinate with other responsible people who use any part of the premises. It is unlikely that your emergency plan will work without this.

    Your emergency plan should be based on the outcome of your fire safety risk assessment and be available for your employees, their representatives (where appointed) and the enforcing authority.

    In very small premises the emergency plan may be no more than a fire action notice. However, in larger more complex premises the emergency plan will need to be more detailed and compiled only after consultation with other occupiers and other responsible people, e.g. owners, who have control over the premises or building.

    We can assist you to construct an Emergency Plan relevant to your premises, please feel free to give us a call or use the contact form for a no obligation advisory response.

  • I own a holiday cottage that I only ‘let out’ for a few months of the year, do I still need a fire risk assessment?

    Short answer – Yes! If you are providing a facility for paying guests with sleeping accommodation, then you are responsible to ensure that a fire risk assessment is carried out and appropriate measures are in place to ensure compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

    Typical examples of these types of premises are, Guest Houses, Holiday Cottages & Chalets, B&B’s, Inns & Restaurants, (with sleeping rooms provided), Self Catering Caravans, Bunkhouses & Hostels. Since 2017 with the rise in popularity of the AirBnB industry, the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. have also been applied to the owners of AirBnB properties.

    AirBnB UK have partnered with the Chief Fire Officers Association to produce a 2 page checklist on fire safety and this can be downloaded in PDF here.

    HM Government provides information on this matter in the form of a booklet called Do You Have Paying Guests?

    Did you know that if you hire a property (or a part of your home) as a holiday letting it is also normally a requirement of your insurance providers and/or advertising agent that you have appropriate fire safety ‘evidence of compliance’ in place.

    We can carry out a full fire safety risk assessment and general fire precautions advisory service on your behalf, please feel free to give us a call or use the contact form for a no obligation advisory response.

  • I’ve been informed by the Fire Service that despite the fact I have a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA), it is neither suitable or sufficient, why?

    Hopefully, the Fire Service Inspector has explained this to you at the time where the shortfalls are in your FRA, some of the most common reasons however are listed below.

    ‘The FRA did not contain sufficient evidence or identification of fire hazards or people who may be affected’ - this is most likely to be the result of the FRA being carried out by someone in good faith but they simply did not have the necessary competence or training to undertake a risk identification process, whist the Fire Safety Order gives scope for an Owner or Occupier to carry out his or her own FRA in a simple low risk premises, a larger or more complex facility will require a ‘recognised industry’ competency, skill and experience level of the assessor.

    Unlike the FRA process, any formal inspection of your business premises by the Fire Service is actually an ‘audit’ of your overall fire safety measures, awareness and control of the risk together with your fire safety management strategy. This audit is very much ‘evidence based’ and your FRA probably doesn’t contain enough detailed information, for example if you have stated that ‘the fire alarm is tested weekly and serviced regularly’ but you do not have the supporting documentation in your Fire Safety Logbook, then this statement fails the ‘acid test’ of evidence. Download your free Fire Safety Logbook here!

    It may be due to the FRA being carried out some time ago and since then, your premises has undergone a change of work process, (use and storage of flammable materials etc.), increased employee capacity, or a refurbishment or building extension has been completed and none of this has been accounted for in the FRA as an amendment at the time or during a subsequent review of the document.

    Reviews…! Your existing FRA is very much a dynamic ‘Live’ document and as such it should be revisited periodically, there is no set time frame for this process, but most Fire Service Inspectors recommend that a review is undertaken at least annually. If your FRA is more than 12 months old; and there are other fire safety management issues evident at your premises during the audit, then the Inspector would be entirely justified in raising the effectiveness of your FRA peer review procedure.

    We can carry out a full fire safety risk assessment or review of your business premises or liaise with the Fire Service, following a critical inspection audit, on your behalf, please feel free to give us a call or use the contact form for a no obligation advisory response.

  • I need to have a fire alarm installed, how can I be sure that I’m going to have an adequate and code-compliant system for my business premises?

    Initially, a simple search of the fire safety system installer or equipment providers’ web page should give you at the very least, an initial confidence that you have sourced a ‘third party accredited’ company. For fire alarms, emergency lighting or fire fighting equipment for example, look for a BAFE logo, for fire doors, look for TRADA, BWF or Certifier logos, for fire resisting rated materials, look for a BRE or LPS endorsement certificate of robust fire testing of the product.

    There are many accredited institutions and Trade Organisations listed on the internet and we can assist you in ensuring the commensurate professional competency and accreditation is sourced, is appropriate for your needs and any fire related system or equipment installed or provided, is in accordance with the approved industry codes of practice. We can also review and identify any ‘over-provision’ in submitted quotes or proposals, saving you money and; potentially, subsequent disruption to your business.

    Please feel free to give us a call or use the contact form for a no obligation advisory response.

  • Fire Safety Training, what do I need and where can I obtain the relevant package?

    The Fire Safety Order requires the Responsible Person to provide fire safety related training to all employees and those who resort to your premises in the course of their work, (including visitors and contractors etc.), upon induction and at regular intervals thereafter. This training must cover the actions to take in the event of a fire, where the fire alarm is, how to summon the emergency services, where any fire fighting equipment is provided and how to use it if necessary, the location of all available exits and where to assemble in a safe place. It’s also a requirement to record all training and details of the person receiving it in a formal record format.

    Regular evacuation drills are an excellent method of familiarising the people in your workplace with the available exit routes and assembly areas. You should ensure this is undertaken at least annually, more frequently for high turn-over of staff or seasonal hiring.

    Your workplace may require Fire Wardens or other nominated persons with specific duties should a fire occur or the alarm is sounded, (checking floors are evacuated, or specialist tasks like ensuring machinery is switched off or hazardous area doors are closed etc.). They might also be nominated to attempt to tackle a fire in its early stages, (hot work operatives etc.), all these tasks require a higher level content of fire safety training and competence assessment.

    Don’t forget your obligation to provide assistance to those with mobility impairments, how are you going to ensure they can negotiate stairs or doors. Do you have staff who are hard of hearing or partially sighted, again special measures may need evaluating by firstly, discussing with and involving those who have any form of disability, followed by practicing the methodology in real time scenarios.

    Please contact us for more information.