It’s not unusual to find fire safety training low on the demands of an innovative start-up business or even an SME.
There always seems to be something more ‘urgent’ to deal with first. But what’s more urgent than finding new business premises because your existing one has burned down? And you may not be allowed to continue operating your business since failing to ensure your staff are protected against a fire outbreak is against the law.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states it is your responsibility, as the owner of a commercial or non-domestic premise in England and Wales, to minimise the possibility of a fire breaking out.
Fire training should therefore be amongst the first tasks to consider when recruiting a team of staff - or even one other individual.
What does fire training involve?
To carry out a fire risk assessment, it’s essential to be able to show that your employees are trained to deal with the event of a fire occurring. This won’t only make them feel more confident but could potentially save their and their colleagues' lives. It also tells them that you are taking the matter seriously, potentially leading to further loyalty from their staff.
The training should include an emergency plan which shows staff how to act in the event of a fire and where their nearest assembly point is. They should also know how to operate equipment, such as a fire extinguisher, and how to open an emergency door. Other knowledge includes when it’s possible to tackle a fire and when to evacuate the building.
It’s not enough to train staff on a one-off basis. The training should be updated, allowing them to keep up with fire prevention techniques and information on modern fire-fighting methods and equipment. It also acts as a refresher course for staff who may have forgotten since the last time.
Meanwhile, if your business has five or more individuals working for you, you must keep a written copy of your fire risk assessment.