When was the last time you updated your fire safety?
Last week I was in a building in the City and the fire alarm went off. I looked around anxiously but nobody seemed bothered. “It’s probably just a short circuit,” said the receptionist dismissively. “Are you sure,” I asked, searching for the nearest exit. I am a cautious person by nature and sadly for me disaster is always lurking around the corner.
My fire safety awareness probably originates from my childhood when mother would give us regular fire drills which entailed my brother and me rolling each other up in a carpet – presumably in case we were on fire! This was of little help when my brother accidently set off a box of fireworks he was hiding under his bed and we lost the top half of our house.
Thus my paranoia is justifiable and I guess I want to feel secure that if I am visiting or working in a building it has good fire safety in place.
It is a legal responsibility that all employers or building owners do a fire safety risk assessment and keep it up to date. I know it sounds a bit dramatic but you could face a heavy fine or go to prison if you don’t follow fire safety regulations.
The fire risk assessment is similar to a health and safety risk assessment and can be carried out either as part of an overall risk assessment or as a separate exercise..
Employers then need to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.
Moreover your insurance may not be valid if you do not have adequate fire safety in place
Our fire safety trainers have highlighted some of measures that they find employers need to be more vigilant about. The biggest bug bear they come across is fire doors propped open with wedges or even fire extinguisher
- Induction training for new staff should be on day one
- The maintenance of fire escape routes – do the doors actually work and does the fire escape route go out to the street?
- Check that fire exit doors are not locked – it is criminal offence to lock them
- Fire risk assessments need to be carried out by a competent person
- Test fire alarms regularly as well as carrying out fire drills and then record the results
- Non-Evacuation when alarm sounds and not knowing how to react
A good source of information is the HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk
For more information about Safe and Sound Fire Safety Training call us on 0208 445 8998 or go to;