What is a Fire Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment is a crucial step that identifies measures to prevent fires and ensure the safety of people in a premises. If you own a block of flats, business premises, or any space accessible to the public, it's mandatory to have one.
Steps to Conduct a Fire Risk Assessment:
Spot the Hazards: Begin by identifying potential fire hazards in the premises.
Know Who's at Risk: Determine the people who might be in danger in case of a fire.
Mitigate the Risks: Evaluate the risks and either remove them or minimise them.
Document and Plan: Record your findings, create an emergency plan, and ensure staff training. Regularly review and update your assessment. Key considerations include:
Emergency exits and routes
Fire detection and alarm systems
Safe storage of hazardous substances
Plans for fire evacuation
Catering to vulnerable individuals like the elderly or disabled
Informing all occupants about fire safety
Regular fire safety training for staff
You can conduct the assessment yourself using standard guides (details below).
If you're short on time or expertise, hire a 'competent person' like a professional risk assessor.
Your local fire and rescue authority can offer advice, but they won't conduct assessments for you.
There are comprehensive guides available for various premises, including:
Offices and shops
Factories and warehouses
Residential care and educational premises
Places of assembly, both small and large
Theatres and cinemas
Outdoor venues and healthcare facilities
Animal premises, transport facilities, and more.
Please see below for more information.
Fire Safety and Evacuation Plans
Ensure your plan includes:
Clear and direct escape routes
Adequate exits for everyone
Easily operable emergency doors
Necessary emergency lighting
Training for employees on evacuation procedures
A designated safe assembly point
Special Note on Mobility Needs
Always make provisions for individuals with mobility challenges. For instance, ensure assistance for wheelchair users during evacuations.
In conclusion, fire risk assessments are not just a legal requirement but a moral one. It's about ensuring the safety of everyone who steps into your premises. Stay informed, stay prepared, and stay safe.
Please visit Fire England's website, where you can find examples of effective Fire Risk Assessments and for further advice about this important aspect of risk management.