How to avoid fines (or much worse) due to breaching fire regulations
This month it has been reported that the owner of a B&B in Looe has been ordered to pay a total of £8,567 in fines and costs after the premises failed to meet fire safety regulations.
Cornwall Fire & Rescue inspection officers noted that
- The fire detection and warning system fell short of the standard expected in a premises providing sleeping accommodation
- The escape routes serving the sleeping accommodation were not adequately protected
- There was a lack of emergency escape lighting
- A fire risk assessment had not been carried out
The fines are so high of course because lives are at risk if fire safety measures are not implemented properly.
To help small businesses meet fire regulations, here’s our simple checklist and links to helpful resources to help you make sure your business meets fire regulations. Don’t put it off — take a look and act on it now!
What are you required to do to obey the law?
If you own, manage or operate any business, you need to comply with fire safety law. The main law is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or “the Fire Safety Order”. This applies to nearly all buildings, places and structures that aren’t individual, private homes.
Under the Fire Safety Order your main responsibilities are:
- To ensure your premises reach the required standards.
- To ensure employees are provided with adequate fire safety training.
Additionally, your Fire Risk Assessment must be recorded if you have:
- a total of five or more employees
- or your business has a licence under enactment in force.
You can get guides and advice to Fire Risk Assessments on Cornwall Council’s fire risk assessment page https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/fire-and-rescue-service/business-fire-safety/fire-risk-assessment/
Key things to check:
Checking for hot plug sockets, frayed or repaired leads, leads running under rugs or carpets and water near electrical items are all things to look out for. Click here for full guidance on electrical safety [https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/fire-and-rescue-service/keeping-safe/fire-safety/fire-safety-at-home/electrical-fire-safety/]
Fire escape emergency plan
You should have a clear plan which shows that you have the following things in place:
- A fire detection system.
- A way to identify false alarms.
- A named responsible person who calls 999.
- Clear escape routes and exits. Good signage to these.
- Emergency doors that open easily – and emergency lighting if necessary.
- Training for staff on fire escape plan and a safe meeting point once they have got out.
- Consideration of how people who are disabled can escape. Click here for a guide: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/886446/9446_Means_of_Escape_v2_.pdf
Click here for further guidance on your emergency plan: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/fire-and-rescue-service/business-fire-safety/business-fire-safety-advice/emergency-plan/
Access for emergency fire vehicles
Fire Safety Logbook
Click here to download a template that you can adapt for your business: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/q22jflm1/2017-firelogbookpdf.pdf
Fire Safety Inspections
The Fire and Rescue Inspection service can visit your premises at any time to make sure you are following the rules, but they generally make appointments. Unannounced visits tend to happen if the F&R service believes they will have a better chance of determining whether the law is being complied with if they don’t tell you they are coming…. So for most businesses, unexpected visits are pretty rare.
The Fire & Rescue Service also have a legal duty and indeed are very happy to give helpful advice.
It’s also worth noting that the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service do recommend that the ‘Responsible Person’ uses a professional fire safety business to help deliver their business’s requirements when appropriate.
Our team are always happy to help as we not only support with fire safety alarm systems but fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers. You can contact us at email@example.com or call 01726 65636