In 2017, there were 12,094 reported fires in non-domestic buildings in England, with 8% resulting in fatalities or casualties. Even if you’re lucky to escape with no casualties, a fire can be devastating for a business if property or assets are destroyed. Aside from the legal obligations and the obvious implications around loss of property, it’s in every business owner’s interest to protect what’s most important to them – their business and their employees. Local fire and rescue authorities can inspect business premises, and if they find your processes and equipment lacking, you could be forced to close until you have rectified or even be fined if there is an incident.
Here are 3 essential things you should know about fire safety in your business.
Know your regulations
While it’s obviously extremely important to have some form of fire detection and life safety system present in your business, it’s also important to understand what type of system is actually required, and what your obligations are under the law.
You certainly don’t want to be under-equipped, but you also don’t want to be over-equipped by investing in equipment you don’t necessarily need to adequately protect your premises and people. Put simply, the BS 539-1 code of practice is the standard for fire detection and alarm systems in non-domestic premises, and there are a number of categories and grades applied to various systems. You can read our guide to the different categories and grades here.
The law requires you or an appointed provider to carry out regular fire risk assessments. If your business has five or more people, you must keep written records of them. The risk assessment will also help you to determine which category/grade of system is required. This will then allow you to design your system around your requirements.
Have a clear process
Fire safety in your business is about more than just having the right detection and life safety equipment. You should have a clear process for what happens in the event of a fire, such as evacuation plans. It’s important to consider where the exits are and that they’re clearly accessible and clearly marked. A safe meeting point should be established complete with special arrangements for people with mobility needs. You are also obligated to ensure that all staff are aware of fire risks and what to do in the event of fire, as well as running frequent fire drills. Most businesses will nominate safety officers who will coordinate evacuation and check whether employees are present.
According to a study by the Home Office in 2017, in fires that resulted in fatalities or casualties, 4% of alarms did not operate due to a faulty or incorrectly installed system. To ensure that it’s properly functional and effective in the event of a fire, it’s vital that your fire detection and safety system is regularly checked and maintained. A reputable provider will be able to arrange a service and maintenance contract that will give you the peace of mind that your equipment is fully functional in the event of an emergency.
Get the advice you need
Century Secure Group UK Ltd can help you to make sure you’re meeting your legal obligations and that your staff and your premises are sufficiently equipped when it comes to fire safety. We’ve been supplying fire detection and safety systems to businesses for nearly 20 years. We can help you ensure compliance and safety by carrying out a risk assessment, recommending and installing the right fire detection system for your needs. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch.
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