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Fire Safety Legislation

FireThe Safety Fire Legislation is called the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and this statutory instrument has the effect of sweeping away all previous legislation governing the work place, places of business, places to which the public have access and Multi Occupied Dwellings (HMO’s), and bring it all under this one instrument of parliament.

Points to note:
Fire Certificates no longer valid .

The ‘Responsible Person’, normally the person in charge of the premises must;

Make a written ‘risk assessment’ and keep it up to date. From this you must make the decisions about Fire Safety for all persons in or on the premises in question.

In larger premises then a professionally written assessment with advice would seem the way forward but for more straight forward premises then the following website http://fratraining.thefpa.co.uk/ maybe of help.

GavelThis piece of legislation make breaches a ‘criminal offence’, so it is no longer a ‘civil matter’, you are now personally liable and your freedom can be at risk.

Such a process will most probably result in a decision being made that the building must be of a suitable fire resistant construction, is in good repair and that some sort of Automatic Fire Detection System is a must, and going hand in hand with that is a requirement for an Emergency Lighting system, extinguishers and maybe other on site Fire Fighting Equipment, all in all a complete package.

Whilst the compliance with the Fire Safety Order is enforceable via criminal prosecution, it should be remembered that its primary purpose is to save life and prevent injury to people in the event of Fire.

GavelInsurers
But what about the building, its contents the future of your business?

Your Insurers obviously have an interest, as they are on risk and will insist that you take all proper precaution to minimise their exposure to risk as far as possible, they should be a party to this decision making process.

They may want not only an adequate Fire Detection System to alert people to fire to allow an early evacuation but they may also want it communicated automatically as soon as possible to the Brigade via a BT Redcare signalled alert, so that whilst you are evacuating the premises the Brigade are on their way.

Because of these differing risks there are a variety of configurations of Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm systems designated by L,P and M codes with sub categories to denote the type of coverage the system should have, and they are derived from BS5839: 2002 which is the main standard relating to the fitting of such systems.

The Government Guide for your type of business can be found at:
http://www.communities.gov.uk/fire/firesafety/firesafetylaw/


Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005

Q. What are my responsibilities and what happens if I do not comply with the Fire Safety Order?
A. It cannot be stressed sufficiently the need to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment for your Commercial Property as this document is one of the main elements in complying with the Fire Safety Order. People are now being prosecuted by the Authorities for serious breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Such Prosecutions are through the Criminal Courts where a wide range of penalties can be imposed. Such penalties maybe Custodial in serious cases and conviction of course carries the stigma of a Criminal Record.

Remember it is for the ‘Responsible Person’ to ensure compliance or they may be called to face the consequences, this is a personal not a corporate responsibility.

Some Things to look out for:
1. Is the Fire Risk Assessment current and up to date and have you complied with its findings?2. Do you need an Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System? 
3. If so is it regularly checked and Serviced by a ‘Competent’ person?
4. Is there Emergency Lighting on the Escape Routes and is it maintained by a ‘Competent’ person?
5. Is there Safety Signage?
6. Do you have trained ‘Fire Safety Wardens’?
7. Do you organise ‘Fire Safety Drills’ regularly?
8. Do you have a written and published ‘What to do in the event of a Fire’ plan?
9. Good Housekeeping

a) Annually check the electrical supply system by Authorised Engineer
b) Portable Electrical Appliances to be ‘Pat’ tested Annually
c) Gas supply and Heating Systems to be checked Annually by Authorised Engineer
d) Fire Extinguishers, checked Annually and refilled after discharge

10. Keep a paper Audit Trail of such checks
11. Are the escape routes properly sign posted, lit and the routes to them kept free of obstruction in a pathway at least 1m wide?
12. Are the Fire Escapes Doors, not locked from inside and free from obstruction outside, i.e. Parked Cars, Boxes, Fencing, Vegetation etc?
13. The escape routes/ stairways must be kept in good repair and properly lit, with anything that could cause a trip i.e. worn treads or insecure carpeting fixed.

Please note:
The above is not a technical reference and the information contained therein is only a general guide and no responsibility is taken or implied as to the accuracy of Regulatory and Legislative content referred to within. Where British Standards or the Fire Safety Order are referred to.

 

 

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