What is a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment is the methodical review of a building, its occupants and their activities to establish the factors that could cause a fire to start and the consequences, if there is one.
A fire risk assessment is a five step process:
- Identify fire hazards
- Identify people at risk
- Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk
- Record, plan, inform, instruct and train
View the Government’s “5 key steps” fire safety risk assessment checklist here.
Who should conduct your fire safety risk assessment?
These assessments can be done in-house in smaller premises where fire procedures are relatively simple (eg a small office or shop). However, in bigger buildings where there are a larger number of occupants and escape routes, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a certified third party assessor. If you are in doubt about which category you’re in, we’re always happy to advise.
The starting point for all fire safety risk assessments is to consider the building’s structure, fire compartmentation, the number of fire escape routes, their size and structural integrity and travel distances to fire exits. Comprehensive knowledge of building regulations, and often of structural engineering in regards to fire, is needed.
Which certified third party assessor?
Fire safety risk assessment is an in-depth, specialist skill which is why CIA has partnered with 3SFire to undertake fire risk assessments on our behalf.
Assessing the need for a fire alarm
In small premises, a risk assessment may show that, if there is a fire, the alarm could be raised by simply shouting “Fire!” or using an airhorn or hand operated bell, and, as long as the alarm call can be easily heard from everywhere in the building, the position of fire exits are clearly marked and everybody can easily escape, a fire alarm may not be necessary.
In larger premises where it is unlikely that a fire could start without somebody noticing it, but where a shout or a hand operated alarm may not be heard by everyone in the building, a manually operated automatic fire alarm system (AFAS) comprising of call-points (break-glass boxes) and sounders is likely to be adequate.
However, in most commercial buildings and larger multi-occupied premises, where a fire could go undetected for some time before it is discovered (and possibly even affect some escape routes), an automatic fire detection and alarm system (AFDAS) is likely to be required so that the fire is discovered quickly.
Follow this link for the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Fire Risk Assessment Guides
Take me to the main Fire safety at work page.