Who is affected?
Fire safety affects every business regardless of size:
- Ensure that your building is fit for purpose; check that means of escape routes, capacity for the intended occupancy and fire separation are suitable for the intended use.
- Be aware of any responsibilities and the appropriate legislation and guidance documents.
- Carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, using a competent fire risk assessor. All businesses need a risk assessment; if a company has five or more employees then the significant findings must be recorded. Prioritise any actions in a logical order according to risk, giving a realistic timeframe to remedy any problems.
- Continue active management of the premises; make sure all arrangements are reviewed, especially after any changes.
- Carry out quality training for all staff. At least two sessions a year is typically deemed adequate, one of which should include an evacuation drill. More complex situations will require more training.
- Ensure testing, servicing and maintenance regimes for all fire safety systems are in place, including passive protection (eg compartment walls and floors, fire doors) and any active systems (eg fire alarms, emergency lighting).
- Good housekeeping is an essential element for fire safety. Ensure means of escape routes are kept clear and any storage or combustibles are well controlled; any doors and final exits should be easily accessible.
- Liaise with the local fire and rescue service if you require further advice.
- Consider the risks from arson and the needs for a business continuity plan in the event of an incident.
Fire safety law and guidance documents for business
National Fire Chiefs Council, risk assessment guidance
Institution of Fire Engineers, list of assessors and auditors