Questions & Answers

Fire Risk Assessment

Do I need a fire risk assessment?

Unless you fall into one of the following categories (as stated in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005); then yes you do;-

  1. Domestic premises, except to the extent mentioned in article 31(10);
  2. An offshore installation within the meaning of regulation 3 of the Offshore Installation and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995;
  3. A ship, in respect of the normal ship-board activities of a ship’s crew which are carried out solely by the crew under the direction of the master;
  4. Fields, woods or other land forming part of an agricultural or forestry undertaking but which is not inside a building and is situated away from the undertaking’s main buildings;
  5. An aircraft, locomotive or rolling stock, trailer or semi-trailer used as a means of transport or a vehicle for which a licence is in force under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 or a vehicle exempted from duty under that Act;
  6. A mine within the meaning of section 180 of the Mines and Quarries Act 1954, other than any building on the surface at a mine;
  7. A borehole site to which the Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations 1995 apply.

We only employ four people; do we need a fire risk assessment?

Many organisations become confused with the wording on this one. A fire risk assessment IS REQUIRED, however, the findings do not need to be recorded. We would ALWAYS advise recording the findings of any assessment. Without documentation, where is the proof that an assessment was ever completed?

My landlord has a fire risk assessment; why do I need one?

Some landlords do a fire risk assessment for the whole property / complex, however, you still have a legal obligation to ensure that the assessment is suitable and sufficient for the business activity / risk being carried out by your organisation. If you need some advice and guidance, give us a call.

Can I do it myself?

Absolutely, provided you have the relevant skills and / or experience. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states:-

  • 9.-(1) The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under this Order.

Even if you believe you are sufficiently qualified to undertake the task yourself; it may not be cost effective to do so; often outsourcing proves to be a better economic decision, allowing you to concentrate on your area of expertise. To ensure your compliance contact us today for your quotation.

How often should the fire risk assessment be completed?

The wording in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states:-

  • (3) Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if-
  • (a) There is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or
  • (b) There has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates including when the premises, special, technical and organisational measures, or organisation of the work undergo significant changes, extensions, or conversions,

‘Regularly’ can vary dependent on the business / organisation and associated risks; generally, however, the accepted time frame is annual.

Can I have a hard copy of the assessment?

Absolutely. Within the on-line resource is the ability to download a pdf for filing and / or printing.

Can you help me address the actions listed?

We certainly can. We pride ourselves on offering you the level of support you require. Contact us today, to discuss your needs.

Staff Training

Why do staff have to do fire training annually?

We all think we are ‘sensible’ when it comes to fire safety, we all ‘know what to do’, however, there are very few organisations that do not have the ‘tell-tale signs’ of ‘bad habits’, that potentially put lives at risk. We all get into ‘bad habits’ over a period of time. Just think about how you drive now, compared to when you took your driving test. Annual training not only refreshes our ‘good habits’, it allows the opportunity to put organisational policy and procedure to the test, including;

  • What has changed during the past year?
  • Do you have any concerns that need addressing?
  • Are you doing everything you should be doing?
  • Is your organisation doing everything they should be doing?

My staff are all adults; why do they need to do fire evacuations?

Experience shows that many people do not respond well to the activation of the fire alarm, including;

  • Many will assume it is a false alarm and not move.
  • Some will wait to see if anyone else is going to move before they do.
  • When individuals do move, it will often be to pick up their coat, bag, laptop, cup of tea, etc.

Regular fire evacuation drills put the organisation’s fire emergency / evacuation plan to the test, especially when scenarios are played out, such as shutting off one of the exits and seeing how people respond. Fire evacuation drills offer an opportunity to identify and address areas of need, including additional staff training.

Fire Alarm System

Why do the manual call points / smoke detectors need checking weekly?

In the event of a fire, you need to know that the system is going to work. Weekly checks ensures that issues are quickly identified and are able to be addressed before the system is required in anger. It also offers an opportunity to ensure the alarm can be heard by all occupants.

Emergency Lighting

Why does the emergency lighting need checking monthly?

Monthly checks enable issues to be identified before they become critical. Failing lights can be identified, repaired or replaced as necessary, ensuring they are fully operational in the event of need.

Should emergency lighting be checked during the hours of darkness?

Most people complete their checks during the day, however, should there be any concerns over the illumination of areas, and then it would be advisable to complete a test during the hours of darkness.

Why is it necessary to perform a discharge test if the emergency lighting is being checked monthly?

The monthly check is fairly brief, generally designed to ensure the lights activate and to identify any that require repairing or replacing. The discharge test is for the duration of the battery life; e.g. 3 hours. Consideration should be given to when this test is completed to ensure the impact on the area and occupants is minimised by allowing sufficient time for the lights to fully discharge and re-charge before they may be needed, e.g. can this be completed outside of normal working hours or during times of reduced occupancy?

Fire Doors

I have heard that it is ok to prop open a fire door when the building is occupied; is that correct?

Definitely not! A fire door that is propped open with anything other than an approved hold open device, is NOT a fire door. This is always a sign of a training need.

Compliance Checks

Our landlord carries out the compliance checks; why do I need to complete a log book?

Completing a log book, ensures you have all the relevant information to hand and that the landlord has been completing / ensuring the relevant checks / services have been happening at the relevant times, as well as ensuring the items work in your area; e.g. if you have not heard the fire alarm test, is that because it has not been done, or because it is not working in your area?

Who is the responsible person?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states:-

  • The “responsible person” is the person/s who owns or controls the business and/or the owner of the property in the case of multi-occupied buildings and it is their responsibility to ensure that a regular Fire Risk Assessment is carried out.