The home and workplace have very different needs when it comes to fire safety but in both cases there are some simple procedures and common sense precautions you can use to help stay safe.
In The Home
There is no fire safety legislation that covers existing homes but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep fire safety in mind and take steps to ensure your home is protected.
Many people are not aware that the Fire and Rescue Service will come and visit your home, completely free of charge, at a time that suits you to offer help regarding fire safety. They will advise you on any aspect of fire safety within your home and help you devise an escape plan, if you do not already have one. Many Fire and Rescue Services will also fit free smoke detectors where required.
Of course, it’s possible to take steps to stay safe without the help of the Fire and Rescue Service. Most fires in the home can be prevented, by taking the following basic and common sense precautions:
• Make sure you have smoke alarms on at least every level of your home and that these are tested regularly – smoke alarms save lives, but only if they’re working.
• Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully.
• Plan your escape route and make sure everyone knows how to
get out in a fire.
• Take extra care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended.
• Do not overload electrical sockets and watch out for faulty and
over-heating electrical equipment and wiring/cables.
• Any furniture should be fire retardant and meet the furniture regulations.
• Any open fires should be protected with fire guards and never be used to dry washing.
• Any highly flammable surfaces, such as flock wallpaper and polystyrene tiles, should be removed.
In The Workplace
Fire Safety law in the UK applies to any place of work (with a few exceptions, most notably domestic premises) and requires duty holders to ensure the safety of people in respect of harm caused by fire. The people responsible for that safety include:
• Employers and persons who have control of, or own, premises in which any undertaking takes place.
• People with control of premises to the extent of their obligation, together with contractors and tenants (in relation to maintenance, repair or safety of premises).
If you operate, occupy, or have control of applicable premises you are likely to have responsibility for fire safety. Your responsibility will be in proportion to your level of control; the more control you have, the greater your responsibility. More than one person can have fire safety responsibilities and are required to co-operate with each other and co-ordinate their fire safety measures. Employers always retain responsibility for the safety of employees.
If your role in relation to any premises is described above, you are likely to have to comply with Fire Safety law and are required to:
1. Assess fire safety risks
2. Put in place measures to reduce the risk of fire
3. Put in place measures to protect people from harm caused by fire
If this applies to you, we recommend that you record what has been done / will be done to keep people safe in case of fire and any persons (or group of people) identified as being especially at risk, together with your fire safety arrangements. This information must be recorded if:
• You employ 5 or more employees
• A licence is in force in relation to the premises
• An alterations notice (requiring it) is in force
Help With The Assessment
You can perform a fire risk assessment yourself with the help of standard fire safety advice documents.
If you don’t have the time or expertise to perform a fire risk assessment yourself, you’ll need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to help, e.g. a professional risk assessor.
Your local fire and rescue authority might be able to give you advice if you’re not sure your risk assessment has been carried out properly, however, they can’t carry out risk assessments for you.
Keep this information in mind and you’ll be well placed to that you remain compliant with fire safety regulations and that your place or work, or home, stay as safe as possible.
For more information on fire safety and arranging a visit from a professional Risk Assessor, please call Hine Chartered Insurance Brokers on 0161 438 0000.