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The Importance Of Fire Risk Assessments

14th October 2022

The law states that all business grounds need to have a fire risk assessment, but do you understand the importance of them? Unfortunately, many people don’t know how vital they are, it’s a crucial part of your organisation's fire safety plan and can save lives when carried out properly.

What is it?

Fire risk assessments review your entire building to see how fire-safe it is and to point out areas of concern that should be improved on. If there aren’t many people using the premises, for example, 3 or 4 people this assessment doesn’t need to be written down. However, it is always best that there is a written copy so there is documentation that can be followed properly and updated when necessary. 

The rules

Fire risk assessments should be reviewed every year, with a completely new one carried out after 5 years. A new fire risk assessment should also be done if your premises have undergone changes like its purpose, design or number of people using it. This is because these sorts of things usually change fire safety plans, this again should all be done in writing so there is a physical copy to refer to. The assessment should also consist of a review and the relevant requirements that need actioning, this is what ensures your building is as fire safe as possible.

The responsibility

Every business should have a responsible person to ensure its fire safety is being taken care of. For example, they will ensure all recommendations are being actioned, and that the fire risk assessment is currently valid. These people are typically the owner of the organisation, although this can vary. They are in charge of communal areas where fire safety may be an issue.

Do I need a copy?

If you need a copy of the fire risk assessment you can get one by speaking to the company’s/buildings responsible person and they should be able to sort one out for you. If you discover that there isn’t currently a valid assessment, the responsible person should sort this out as soon as possible.

What does the assessment take into account?

A fire risk assessment should take into account a range of factors, to ensure that your building is as safe as possible. The amount of detail this is in will vary though, the more detail the better. In simple terms, it checks the layout, the number of people using the building, the electrical equipment, the building’s history and hazards. It also checks things like emergency lighting and escape routes, if fire extinguishers are in the right place and much more. It is an extremely comprehensive, yet important review.

The penalty

If your building does not have a fire risk assessment or isn’t acting on recommendations you could be at risk of large fines. If a fire does break out from negligence there could even be prison time.

Who can carry them out?

Your fire risk assessment should be undertaken by a competent individual, someone who can assess your building thoroughly and properly. Here at Fire Stoppers, our director James Soley is a BAFE third-party accredited and is on tier 3 of the IFSM National Fire Risk Assessor Register. This means that we are qualified to carry out fire risk assessments to a high standard, even on complex buildings. Click here to find out more about our fire risk assessments.

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