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Do Your Fire Safety Procedures Cover Any Recent Changes In Circumstances?

Fire alarm safety checklist

Following the recent developments in the UK’s response to coronavirus (COVID -19), firefighters are asking business owners and building managers to remember their fire safety responsibilities, and check to ensure procedures cover any change in circumstances.

It is likely that most organisations will have seen normal working practices change over the last few weeks. It is important that if these changes impact on the usual fire safety arrangements, the Fire Risk Assessment and policies for the organisation are reviewed to ensure fire safety provisions are in place and effective.

Group Commander Phill Mould from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: “If you manage a building or own a business, you have a legal requirement to reduce the risk from fire, keep people safe and make sure they can escape.”

“We are asking anyone with these responsibilities to ensure their premises are safe, review their fire risk assessment and ensure that existing safety measures are effective. It is really important that your procedures are updated in response to changes, for example, a change in use of premises, or number of staff available to carry out essential tests of smoke alarm and fire detection systems.”

Fire risk assessments are conducted in five key steps:

1. Identify the fire hazards
2. Identify people at risk
3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training
5. Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly

A checklist can be downloaded at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-5-step-checklist.

The person responsible for the premises is also required to:

  • Consider who may be especially at risk
  • Eliminate or reduce the risk of fire as much as possible
  • Provide general fire precautions
  • Take additional measures to ensure fire safety where flammable or explosive materials are used or stored
  • Create a plan to deal with an emergency
  • Maintain general fire precautions and facilities provided for use by firefighters
  • Keep any findings of the risk assessment under review

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service to investigate any reports of premises having insufficient processes and precautions in place. Should the investigation find failings or breaches of fire safety regulations, enforcement action may be undertaken which could include prohibition of use.

Phill added: “Our team of officers will go to great lengths to help businesses who seek our advice and guidance about how they can best comply with fire safety law.

“Anyone seeking advice can contact their local fire safety office. If someone asks for our help about any serious fire safety deficiencies they feel they may have, before they come to our attention through other channels, they will not normally be prosecuted.”

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service has fire safety offices in:

Aylesbury Vale/Chiltern: 01296 744400 or email AVDC-CDC-Fire-Safety@bucksfire.gov.uk

Wycombe/South Bucks: 01628 470640 or email {WDC-SBDC-Fire-Safety}@bucksfire.gov.uk

Milton Keynes: 01908 236413 or email miltonkeynesfiresafety@bucksfire.gov.uk


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