Why You Need a Fire Risk Assessment

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Anyone in charge of a building – whether residential, commercial or industrial – needs to get a fire risk assessment carried out on it.

Getting a fire risk assessment done on a building doesn’t only make sense, it can be a life saver. It’s also a matter of staying on the right side of the law.

@LondonFire: “If we believe people are at risk, we may even have to close your business until you can make it safe for employees and members of the public.”

What do you mean by a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment involves looking at any potential risks with the building and the people living or working there. It’s then a matter of lessening those risks by introducing fire safety procedures, i.e. the recommendations outlined by the fire safety officer. Only then will the building be truly fire safety compliant.

The assessment must be carried out by someone who knows what they are doing, i.e. a professional fire safety officer. And, if there are more than five individuals living or working in the building, then there must be a written record of this assessment.

Fire risk assessment is an ongoing duty that must be carried out regularly, and any changes noted. That could be changes to the structure or layout of the building, or perhaps the person in charge of managing fire or building security (i.e. the ‘Responsible Person’ in the fire safety report) has now left. Or, in the case of private tenanted premises, it could be that new residents have moved into the building.

Who is the Responsible Person?

In the case of a small business, it is usually the owner who is the ‘Responsible Person’ for fire safety. For an apartment block, it is usually the agent managing the residences or the landlord themselves. Occasionally the job can also lie with a member of the Residents’ Association. It’s worth noting that in the case of flats, it is only the communal areas that the agent or landlord is responsible for.

Apart from being a legal requirement, it’s essential to carry out an assessment as the individual or company in charge of a building. That’s because failure to do so could lead to imprisonment should a blaze occur and lives lost or people injured.

What’s involved in a fire risk assessment?

When conducting a fire risk assessment, your fire safety professional will look at areas such as highlighting any potential fire risks and highlighting residents or employees at risk. They will then evaluate how serious the risk is and put measures in place to either remove or reduce the risk.

It’s then a case of recording the risks, preparing an emergency plan and carrying out fire training. It’s also their responsibility to update the plan and record on a regular basis.

Other reasons you may require a fire risk assessment

If there is a change of premises, i.e. residential to commercial, then you will require to have a fire risk assessment. It may be too that you’ve already had a visit from the local fire brigade, and they have advised an immediate fire risk assessment be carried out.

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