Fire can pose a serious threat to businesses and result in the irreversible damage or destruction of stock, equipment and the premises themselves as well as the potential harm, injury or loss of life of those inside.
This is why fire safety should be a top priority for businesses of all types, sectors and scale, to help ensure that their premises are safe and compliant.
Here we provide some helpful tips, guidance and advice on how you can improve the fire safety of your business.
Understand Fire Regulations
To manage your businesses fire safety effectively, you need to have a thorough understanding of the fire safety laws, regulations and rules that are relevant and which you need to abide by. Failing to be aware of your responsibilities means that you are unable to put the necessary measures in place which can result in serious consequences including fines and even imprisonment.
Conduct a Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment is one of the best possible methods of fire prevention and the single most valuable thing you can do when it comes to fire safety. A fire risk assessment helps to identify potential hazards, make recommendations for how to reduce or remove them, assess fire routes and fire assembly points and ensure that every person onsite could safely evacuate in the event of a fire.
Fire risk assessments aren’t just a suggestion but under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 they are legally required for all premises that aren’t a ‘single private dwelling’. A fire risk assessment is a straightforward and effective process that helps businesses to prevent fire, keep their staff, customers and visitors safe, reduce damage and loss and fulfil their legal obligations.
Appoint the Right People
Fire safety is all about people and assigning roles to the right people is key to make sure that the fire safety within your business premises is taken seriously and in safe hands that you can trust to fulfil their duties.
A ‘Responsible Person’ (RP) must be appointed who will be in charge of completing fire safety checks and the premises day-to-day fire safety needs. They must have sufficient knowledge, understanding, training and experience to competently carry out and complete their fire safety responsibilities.
Because this is a key role, it is recommended that additional people who are familiar with the necessary fire safety protocols are also appointed so that there is no skill or information gap if the responsible person leaves suddenly, is unwell or on annual leave.
Alongside the RP, a fire marshal is another essential role whose main aims are fire prevention, the evacuation of the property, containing and tackling small fires and delivering on recommendations from the fire risk assessment.
Complete Fire Safety Training
Fire safety training is extremely useful, not just for fire marshals and appointed Responsible Persons but for everyone within the business. This training can greatly reduce the chances of a fire occurring and gets everyone involved, creating a culture of fire safety whilst helping to prevent injuries and save lives.
With modern online safety training courses nowadays, it is also very time and cost effective and can usually be complete in just a few hours using a tablet, phone or laptop so there are no worries about time away from the business or loss of productivity.
Mitigate Fire Risk
Some of the most basic things are often the ones which get overlooked when it comes to fire safety, but they can also make a big difference. There are a number of good housekeeping practices which can help to reduce fire risk, such as;
- Promptly discarding waste
- Keeping corridors, stairs, hallways and exits clear
- Replacing highly flammable materials with alternatives that are less combustible
- Introducing a safe smoking policy with designated smoking areas
Hire a Professional
Fire safety is extremely important and even if you appoint a competent person, it is the owner, manager or those in charge who are ultimately responsible if things go wrong. This is why a lot of businesses choose to utilise the services of a fire safety professional who can help to carry out their fire risk assessments for them and ensure that their premises are safe and compliant for complete peace of mind.