Managing & Controlling Fire Risks
An important part of managing any property whatever its size is controlling the risk of fire, and the first step is identifying potential hazards and risks. There is a legal requirement for fire risk assessments [FRAs] to be carried out on all non domestic premises, in order to protect occupants. Identification of corrective actions and steps needed to achieve an acceptable level of fire safety should be the ultimate aim of this process.
Those with responsibility for fire safety in these environments must ensure that they receive the appropriate training. Once the training is complete they can either carry out the fire risk assessment themselves or choose a competent risk assessor. If the latter option is chosen, it will still ultimately be down to the responsible person if requirements are not met.
5 Steps to Fire Risk Assessment
There are five steps to risk assessment including:-
- Identify the Hazards: consider how and where fire could start and what would burn.
- People at Risk: any occupants, contractors, employees or visitors to the premises, noting any vulnerable individuals such as those who have some form of disability.
- Evaluate and Act after evaluating potential hazards and those likely to be affected, take action to reduce identified risks to people and property.
- Records and Training keep a record of the assessment showing risks and any action taken. Make a clear plan of action in the event of fire, and ensure that people know what to do.
- Review Regularly Make sure to review the assessment and note any changes
It is crucial to identify safe means of escape, and there are several considerations here too which could impact evacuation. If smoke, heat and fire spread quickly throughout the building, some means of escape could be inaccessible. Proposed escape routes must be suitable for all to use, even if there are many people or some with compromised mobility. Escape routes should lead to a place of safety where people may assemble, and of course these exits must be kept free from obstructions with doors in good working order.
Extinguishers for all Classes of Fire
Fast and safe evacuation in the case of fire is the key to avoiding or reducing fatalities and injury, so making others who work in the vicinity aware of procedures is essential. They also should know to keep fire routes and exits clear, and not wedge open fire doors. Combustible materials being stored near these exits is a bad idea also.
Illuminated signs pointing towards exits are helpful, and emergency lighting is a must in most situations were visibility is compromised. You need to have the correct fire extinguishers, of the right size and weight for the premises, and allow them to be seen easily. It’s best to take steps to ensure that extinguishers are not misused or damaged wilfully, rendering them useless in an emergency. Regular testing and maintenance of fire prevention and detection systems is important, along with escape routes, fire doors, emergency lighting etc.
Fire Safety Training, Fire Awareness, Fire Wardens & Fire Marshals
Fire is the cause of extreme devastation for many businesses each year, and lots of companies do not recover from this setback. It’s no secret that fire safety awareness training can save lives, your own and the lives of others, knowing what to do when fire is discovered means less panic, and a swift resolution. Specially trained individuals who can stay calm and make sure the building is evacuated safely should be part of the workforce.
There are a range of courses available for every situation, and they can also be tailored to suit the needs of the business and environment. Only fully trained and qualified individuals can provide the high standards needed for peace of mind.