Below is a selection of the most frequently asked questions regarding Fire Safety. If you have a question please contact us using the form at the end of this page or by phone, e-mail or call in to our shop we will be happy to help.
The answers below do not necessarily apply in all situations so if you are unsure please contact us.
Do I have to have my Fire Extinguishers, Fire Alarm and Emergency Lighting serviced?
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 it states that all Fire Safety Equipment must be maintained in an "efficient state, working order and in good repair" to this end, Fire Extinguishers, Fire Alarms and Emergency Lighting should be regularly inspected and serviced by qualified, competent persons in accordance with the relevant British Standard.
Do I have to train my staff on fire safety?
Yes. There is a legal obligation to train your staff in fire safety. You may even have to appoint and train Fire Marshals to assist with evacuation and fire prevention. Lew Sainsbury and Sons provide comprehensive interactive training solutions which satisfy legal requirements. Courses are conducted at your premises using live fires and real equipment to give your staff the tools to prevent and tackle fire safely.
Can't I just install battery powered smoke detectors througout my premises?
Generally not. An effective Fire Alarm System needs to warn all occupants of a fire. A single battery smoke alarm is unlikely to do this (unless your premises consist of a single room) and would probably be found not to be sufficient in an inspection or Fire Risk Assessment. Battery smoke detectors are primarily for domestic use.
Fire Alarms don't always have to be expensive and complex. A Fire Risk Assessment of your premises may find only a basic system is required or other solutions may be acceptable.
I am just one of the businesses in a large, multi-occupied building. Who has responsibility here?
Under the Fire Safety Order each employer is responsible for the safety of both their employees and any other relevant person. This may include employees of other employers as well as visitors, contractors etc.
As an employer you must take account of the risk to both your employees and other relevant persons to the extent to which you have control of the premises and other employers in the building must do the same.
The owner (or landlord if they have legal responsibility) of the building must take into account the risk to persons in the common parts.
Article 22 of the Fire Safety Order requires all parties to cooperate, where two or more responsible persons have duties in respect of the Order.
Do I have to have a Fire Risk Assessment?
Yes. You will need to carry out a fire risk assessment and have an emergency plan even where there is just one employee.
The findings of the risk assessment must be recorded where:
A licence under an enactment is in force such as pubs etc.
An Alterations Notice under the Fire Safety Order requires it.
You are an employer and have five or more employees.
Fire Risk Assessments should also identify weaknesses in your Fire Safety provisions and areas requiring improvement to meet relevant safety standards and legislation.
Do I have to have my Portable Appliances tested?
There is no legal requirement to have your Portable Appliances tested, however it shows that you are taking steps to ensure that the equipment you use and provide to staff and customers is safe to use which is a legal requirement.
For more information you could visit: The HSE Guide to PAT testing requirements
I have a letter informing me that the Fire Service Inspecting Officer is planning a visit, what can I expect?
First of all, dont worry! These inspections are quote normal, the Inspecting Officer audits companies and buildings to ensure compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and other relevant Fire Safety legislation.
The letter will detail the information the Officer will want to see. If you do not have one or more of the items listed you should take action to ensure they are available for inspection.
Key things an Inspecting Officer will require are (but not limited to):
Fire Risk Assessment
Details of your Fire Safety procedures
Staff fire safety training records
Records of inspection and test of your Fire Alarm, Emergency Lighting, Fire Extinguishers etc...
You should also continually ensure that:
All escape routes are kept clear at all times including fire escapes inside and out
Do not pin open fire doors
Ensure your fire safety systems and provisions are in working order and maintained
Electrical and Gas Safety testing and maintenance is carried out and recorded
Combustible and flammable materials are stored or disposed of correctly
Remember that the Inspecting Officer is also there to give guidance and advice on Fire Safety so dont be shy to ask!
Dont forget that we offer free advice and guidance. Contact us now.