Fire Safety For New Businesses
Starting a new business can be an incredibly busy time which will involve putting in place systems which established businesses can take for granted. A hugely important consideration for any new business is compliance with fire safety regulations. As the owner of a company, employer or property owner, you will be designated a ‘responsible person’, making you liable for ensuring sufficient fire safety protocols are in place. In this article, we will lay out the aspects of fire safety which have to be considered and implemented by a new business.
Fire risk assessment
The designated ‘responsible person’ has an obligation to carry out a fire risk assessment of the business’ premises periodically. A fire risk assessment comprises of 5 main parts:
- Identifying fire hazards
- Identifying people who are at risk
- Assessing these risks, removing and reducing them as far as possible
- Recording findings, letting them inform an emergency plan and staff training
- Reviewing and regularly updating the assessment
The aim of the assessment is to make you aware of the potential fire hazards in your workplace so you can subsequently reduce these risks, putting in place suitable preventative measures. It is good practice to keep a written copy of your risk assessment, and this is a legal necessity if your business has 5 or more people.
If you don’t feel you have the know-how, or time, to complete a fire risk assessment of your business, you can hire a professional risk assessor to carry out one on your behalf. This will ensure all necessary points are thoroughly covered and that you comply fully with the legal requirements.
Detailed emergency plan
This needs to be a clear guide for how to react and evacuate in the case of a fire. The plan is entirely specific to your building and needs to include details of escape routes, fire exits and fire assembly points. The plan will help you effectively consider fire safety in your workplace as you decide upon short, direct and clear escape routes which are accessible to all. Once the details of the fire safety and evacuation plans have been decided upon, you will need to ensure all members of staff are trained so they know what to do and where to go in the event of a fire.
Fire safety equipment
It is essential that you have a fire detection and warning system installed. This is likely to be smoke detectors and alarms, however, depending on the type of business you have, other forms of detector may be more suitable; a fire safety expert can help you establish which equipment is best for your needs. It is your responsibility to carry out regular checks on the alarms to make sure they are working properly. Fire drills should be carried out annually at the very least, and all staff should receive fire safety training.
Fire fighting equipment
Your business should try to prevent a fire occurring as much as possible, but will need to be prepared in the event one does break out. Fire fighting equipment must be available in the workplace and should be chosen according to the type of business you have. For example, in an office where electrical fires are more likely, CO2 extinguishers, rather than water ones, would be required. All extinguishers will need to be properly installed, tested and maintained. Besides extinguishers, other possible fire fighting equipment includes fire blankets, sprinkler systems and fire hose reels.
Cheshire Fire are one of the leading suppliers of fire safety equipment and training in Cheshire and the surrounding areas. Our experts can also help you reduce the risk of fires in your business or property by carrying out professional fire risk assessments, ensuring you are meeting your legal obligations. For more information on the products and services we provide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.