Fire Safety: A Matter of Life or Death

Fire Alarm

It has sadly taken a tragic recent event to bring fire safety back into sharp focus in the public consciousness.

As was the case following the King’s Cross fire on the London Underground and the fire at Bradford City Football Club in the 1980s, there are expected to be far-reaching consequences when analysing and addressing the issues raised by the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Such a hugely devastating and highly symbolic fire has sent shockwaves through the nation, as people look to find out what went wrong, provide community assistance to those affected, and learn how such a disaster can be prevented from ever happening again.

With fire safety now in the spotlight, worried business owners, employers, landlords, tenants and workers across the country will look to ensure the properties they are responsible for or occupy are safe, with exposure to fire risk minimised or eliminated wherever possible.

Existing regulations and legislation are anticipated to change following the government’s announcement that there will be a public inquiry into Grenfell.

Against this backdrop, it pays to be responsible and ensure that fire safety is a priority.  Responsible persons for fire safety must now be on the front foot and act decisively to keep property safe where they are accountable.

What do you need to consider when managing fire risks?

There are important things to consider when it comes to managing the risk of fire:

  1. When was the last time you had a building fire risk assessment?

To remain compliant with current fire safety regulations*, fire risk assessments must be reviewed and updated as required.  Where employers are concerned, any business with 5 or more employees must keep a written record of their fire risk assessment.

If you are responsible for a property’s fire risk and the property has not had a recent fire risk assessment, then now is the time to act.  Bear in mind that legislation may now change to insist upon a more frequent, clearly defined review schedule.

It is not just a case of remaining compliant with the law, but more importantly it’s finding out about any issues to prevent potential injuries and fatalities, damage to property or legal action against responsible persons in the future.

* Each area in the UK has its own regulations:
England & Wales: Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005
Scotland: The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006
Northern Ireland: The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010

  1. When did you last visit your fire risk procedures?

Whenever there is a change to the environment at your property, fire risk procedures should be reviewed.

If building works take place on new or existing premises, fire safety must be designed into the proposed building or extension as part of building regulations.

Unfortunately, it is easy to be complacent if nothing appears to have changed since a property was built.  Periodic reviews of fire risk procedures are essential to ensure that fire evacuation and emergency plans are robust, clearly communicated and fully understood by everybody who has cause to follow them.

Latest government and local authority guidance is subject to change.  Make sure you understand your responsibilities and ensure that fire risk procedures are well defined and adhered to by everybody concerned.

  1. Have you acted on recommendations made?

It is not enough to simply carry out a fire risk assessment – you must take action if it is recommended to do so.  Making sure that everybody is informed of their role in preventing the spread of fire is of paramount importance.

Wherever those occupying property need to follow instructions in relation to fire safety, it is vital that they understand their role and confirm their understanding and acceptance of any procedures they must follow.

If you own property or are responsible for its management, then you could be held personally responsible where non-compliance with regulations occurs.

Saving lives and preventing accidents from happening is clearly the main priority, so making sure you follow the best current advice and stay on top of fire risk assessments and procedures is in everybody’s best interests.

Bollington can help you

Bollington exists to ensure our clients are protected against risk.  We are one of the select few insurance brokers in the UK who can call upon an expert, in-house risk management team.

The risk management team at Bollington works together with our clients to ensure that thorough fire risk assessments are carried out by a qualified member of our experienced risk management team, with all findings documented.

Bollington’s fire risk assessments can help you:

  • Identify fire hazards
  • Identify people at risk
  • Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
  • Record findings
  • Prepare an emergency plan and deliver training

Fire risk assessments can be carried out anywhere in the country, starting from £700+VAT per assessment.  Further, you do not have to be an existing insurance client of Bollington to take advantage of our service.

Carrying out fire risk assessments and procedural reviews will help to reassure property tenants and company employees, while providing those responsible for fire safety with the professional advice and assistance they need to manage fire risks effectively.

Contact Andy Barnes on 01625 854300 to discuss a fire risk assessment for your business.