'But doesn't the fire service take care of that?'

Posted on May 11, 2015
Tags: fire, fires, fire safety

As per the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is your responsibility as the 'responsible person' to ensure various elements of the safety of those in your buildings in the event of a fire emergency.

In the UK, it may be natural to think that in a fire emergency, the people who hold responsibility for the people who may be affected by that fire is with the national fire service. 

However, although the work the fire service does is unparalleled, it does not hold entire responsibility in fire emergencies, some of that responsibility must fall with...you. 

As per the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is your responsibility as the 'responsible person' to ensure various elements of the safety of those in your buildings in the event of a fire emergency. 

In a work environment; installing smoke alarms, fire doors, fire resistant furniture etc, are all precautions that should be taken to maximise the safety of the people in your office, factory, leisure centre, school or hospital.  

Additional to this, however - it is vital to know what more can be done to ensure the safety of the people inside your building when evacuating a property during a fire emergency. 

Several things you can do include:  

Develop a fire evacuation plan 

This will vary from building to building and site to site, as there are many building types and purposes which need to be considered, eg 

  • Is the property adjoined to another? 
  • How many floors does it have? 
  • Where are the emergency exists? 
  • Where is the nearest safe evacuation point? 
  • How many people are likely to be in the building at any given time? 
  • How mobile are those people?

Train up your people

Make sure everyone within the building knows (or can clearly see) where fire exists are, and that there are designated people to guide and check people out of the building to the nearest fire evacuation point.  

Ensure your first-aiders are aware of their responsibilities and are competent at carrying these out.  

Any equipment (see below) requiring training must be completed - every person using this equipment should be competent and confident in its use. 

Make sure you have the right equipment

  • Ensure your smoke alarms are fit for purpose (and in the correct volumes and places)
  • Do you need fire blankets?
  • Fire extinguishers - do you have the right type for the right areas?
  • What are your alternatives for evacuating less able people (such as those with a disability, injury or the elderly) up or down stairs? Are they fit for purpose?

What about flammable or dangerous substances?

Taken from the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: 

In order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons arising from an accident, incident or emergency related to the presence of a dangerous substance in or on the premises, the responsible person must ensure that—

(a) Information on emergency arrangements is available, including—

(i) Details of relevant work hazards and hazard identification arrangements; and

(ii) Specific hazards likely to arise at the time of an accident, incident or emergency;

(b) Suitable warning and other communication systems are established to enable an appropriate response, including remedial actions and rescue operations, to be made immediately when such an event occurs;

(c) Where necessary, before any explosion conditions are reached, visual or audible warnings are given and relevant persons withdrawn; and

(d) Where the risk assessment indicates it is necessary, escape facilities are provided and maintained to ensure that, in the event of danger, relevant persons can leave endangered places promptly and safely. 

These are just some of the measures, controls and recommendations we would advise - if you need to know about what is required of you - the responsible person, give one of our specialists a call on 0844 800 1775 to find out more.