Fire Safety and the Duties of the Responsible Person

Fire Safety and the Duties of the Responsible Person

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Fire safety is incredibly important for every home and business premise. If you run a business or organisation by law you have to appoint a Responsible Person for Fire Safety.

If your premises are used by the public, whether you run a hotel, warehouse or hospital, the chances of lives being at risk from fire increases significantly.

Which Organisations Does Fire Safety Legislation Apply to?

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You need to delegate a competent person to be responsible for fire safety if you are:

  • In charge of premises used by members of the public
  • Offering accommodation to paying guests
  • Using any part of your home for business purposes
  • In charge of a block of flats in England and Wales

These rules still apply whether you are employed, self employed, a charity or a voluntary organisation. More information on this can be found on the Kent Fire Service site, including how to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment.

The Main Duties of the Responsible Person for Fire Safety

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Below is a summary of the main duties of the Responsible Person for fire safety provided by the FIA.

All persons responsible for fire safety should be properly trained. Training should also be provided for all employees, who need to be aware of this information.

If there is more than one Responsible Person they must work together to share information and co-ordinate checks. They must ensure that they have up to date knowledge of all current fire safety regulations.

A plan of action for evacuation should be in place.

The Responsible Person or Persons must make sure that, in the event of a fire, all people on the premises –  including themselves – can escape to safety. Special measures need to be in place to evacuate vulnerable people including children, people with disabilities, people with learning difficulties or mental health problems and the elderly.

There should be an agreed evacuation point well away from the fire. Fire safety signs should state the evacuation point above places where fire extinguisher equipment is kept.

There needs to be an adequate escape route if a fire occurs. The escape route should have fire doors and compartments, emergency lighting, fire exit signs, evacuation notices and fire escape doors.

A fire risk assessment should be carried out to identify all fire safety risks and hazards. Special attention should be paid to people who are at special risk of being trapped if there is a fire. Plans need to be in place for people who are more at risk of being in a place where a fire could start and spread quickly. These may be people who work in kitchens for example.

Additional fire safety plans should be in place to prevent a fire starting where there are highly flammable substances. Emergency measures should be agreed upon if a fire does break out. This should include the provision of appropriate fire fighting equipment.

Smoke alarms and fire alarm systems should be installed and regularly tested and maintained. All outcomes and faults from tests, servicing and false alarms should be recorded in a fire safety log book.

Fire fighting equipment, for example fire extinguishers appropriate for the uses of the premise and fire blankets should be available and suitably stored. These should be regularly checked, serviced and updated when needed.

All the above arrangements should be regularly reviewed and updated when necessary. The Responsible Person should be aware of current fire safety legislation. Finally, it cannot be stressed enough, all fire safety equipment – alarms, smoke detectors, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers – must be regularly maintained and in top working order. It is better to be safe than sorry.

To read the full version of the Best Practice Guide to Fire Safety from the FIA please click here.

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We can help ensure the safety of your business, your employees and eliminate unnecessary fire risk with appropriate fire safety measures. For a FREE site survey, please get in touch with our team today.