A ‘Fire Risk Assessment’ is an assessment of your premises, what hazards are present and what is done to manage those hazards.
There are five key steps to a fire risk assessment:
- Identify the fire hazards
- Identify people at risk
- Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
- Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan & provide training
- Review and update regularly
When we talk about hazards we don’t always mean something that could start a fire, for example, someone not knowing there is a fire would be a hazard.
So when identifying hazards, as well as considering what could start a fire, consider things like the following questions as well:
- How will people be warned if there is a fire?
- How will they escape and can they do so easily and safely? At all times including darkness / power failure?
- How will they know what to do?
- How will you make sure your systems work properly?
You must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has five or more people, is licensed or has had an alterations notice in place. A fire risk assessment should be a continuous process.
Who should complete a Fire Risk Assessment?
A fire risk assessment should be carried out by a ‘competent person’ – A person with enough training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.
Some Premises – particularly in small or low-risk premises – may be able to carry out their own fire risk assessment. Whilst there are advantages of doing a fire risk assessment in house. You need to know your limits.
If there is not a ‘competent person’ in your employment you can appoint someone to carry out a fire risk assessment for you. You should maintain close involvement in the process, regardless of who carries out the fire risk assessment the ‘responsible person’ retains responsibility for ensuring that the assessment fulfils the requirements of the law.
Advice for choosing a competent fire risk assessor has been published by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and can be found here.
Several templates for Fire Risk Assessments and links to guidance documents relating to your premises can be found on our guidance and resources page.