Taking Fire Risk Assessment to the next level: Business Resilience and Continuity
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.

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