Since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
came into effect, business owners have had a legal duty to undertake a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. This
will require a level of competence that will reflect the complexity of the type of premises and occupants. If in doubt, the
responsible person is well advised to seek professional help.
Whilst, technically, only the significant findings of the fire risk assessment must be recorded,
it is important to fully consider the benefits of incorporating your fire risk assessment into a detailed guidance document
which can be used to manage future fire safety within your premises. It will provide useful training and awareness information
for all employees (new and existing) if each aspect is detailed and fully explained without the use of jargon.
The fire risk assessment can identify each element
of the precautionary measures, e.g. required fire doors and separation, emergency lighting, exit routes etc..., and together
with simple diagrammatic floor plans, will even assist with future building maintenance. This is contrary to a ‘check
list’ type of fire risk assessment, so often offered up to the inspecting authorities, only to be deemed ‘not
suitable and sufficient’.The fire risk
assessment should also include an Emergency Action and Evacuation Plan (also a requirement of the Fire Safety Order) and a
fire safety training needs assessment to establish the appropriate level and frequency of staff fire safety training that
you will need to provide.The above measures
are required by law to protect life and reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring.
When a fire incident does occur
however, it can have a devastating effect on the future of any business and will almost certainly result in serious disruption.
In many cases a business will never recover from such a loss. This
factor is not addressed within the statutory fire risk assessment process. It requires an experienced appraisal of what
your business will look like after such an event, the identification of any weakness and the suggestion of measures which
can be put into place to prevent or mitigate loss. This
is best achieved by assessors who have the operational fire experience or knowledge to consider the likely impact
a fire will have on your business. They can then advise you on the resilience against fire within your premises and suggest
measures that you can take to reduce loss and assist Business Continuity in such an unfortunate event.
Damage to a business will greatly affect the owners, employees
and clients. Fire represents a serious and ever present threat that should be fully considered and prepared for. Just close
your eyes for a moment and imagine arriving at work to a burnt out building – our fire risk assessors have experienced
many people who have. Are you prepared for the disruption? Your insurance company may replace some of the assets (another
reason to make sure your fire risk assessment is up to scratch) but what about the loss of time, information and opportunities
that will represent such a major setback for your business. Why take an avoidable risk?
At Key Fire Solutions, we now strongly advise our clients
to go the extra mile and ensure that they get a fire risk assessment product that not only enables them to comply with fire
safety law, but one that gives them reassurance and a peace of mind that we can share.