Business fire safety and what you need to do

In England and Wales, if you are an employer, owner, landlord or occupier of a business or non-domestic premises, you are responsible for fire safety and therefore known as the 'responsible person'.

As the responsible person, there are certain things you must do by law under the Fire Safety Order, which is enforced by your local fire and rescue authority.

For further information on the duties of the responsible person, see the 'fire safety and risk assessment' section on the Fire Safety in the workplace website.

Make sure your staff know what do in the event of a fire!

  • Make sure they are familiar with the evacuation drill and escape routes for the building
  • Test your fire alarm weekly
  • Test your emergency lighting monthly

Carry out a fire risk assessment

Make sure you carry out a continuous fire risk assessment of your building ensuring the following points are followed:

  • Never obstruct sprinkler heads and fire detectors
  • Unsafe storage of waste packaging and pallets is a fire risk
  • Never leave waste containers close to buildings
  • Remove all sources of ignition wherever possible
  • Ensure that flammable liquids are stored safely
  • Make sure that machinery and equipment is maintained

Download the documents below for assistance with completing your risk assessment:

If you feel, having read the guidance, that you:

  • do not have an appropriate knowledge or understanding of fire safety and the risk to people from fire to comply effectively with the legislative requirements, or;
  • are unable to invest sufficient time and resources to do justice to this important task

You will need to appoint a specialist to carry out the risk assessment for you. Such a specialist must identify the fire safety measures that need to be in place. You should maintain close involvement in the process.

The Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council have produced a document (Guidance Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor) for information on how to select an appropriate person or organisation to carry out the risk assessment on your behalf.

The guide and other helpful documents are available via the link below:

Risk Based Inspection Program

We have responsibility for the enforcement of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  As part of this role we visit a number of premises to carry out a risk based inspection program.

If your premises are selected for a visit you will be required to present a fire risk assessment and emergency plan to one of our Fire Protection Officers (FPO)s and explain the contents.

If, when we visit, you have not completed a fire risk assessment you may have committed an offence under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which may lead to enforcement action being taken.

Enforcement action

Enforcement action varies from educating and informing, notification of defects to be rectified, agreeing an action plan, an enforcement notice, an alterations notice, a prohibition notice or possible prosecution.

If you have made your assessment but we think you need to take further action, we will discuss this with you and highlight specific areas of concern.

It is, however, the responsible person's duty to identify and take appropriate measures to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

See the Public Register of Enforcement Action.

Improving your safety

The safety of your building and its occupants can be greatly enhanced by the installation of an Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System.  If properly used and maintained, the automatic system can be a significant factor in reducing the risk to life, and the limiting of damage to your property.

Unwanted fire signals (false alarm calls)

Unfortunately, the very features that provide this fast response can also produce unwanted signals arising from activities other than a real fire.

These can prove both costly both to the Fire Service, by initiating unnecessary turnouts of fire appliances and to the building operator. Evacuation of a building as a result of a false alarm signal can result in loss of production and general disruption of normal business activities.

Visit our Publication scheme page for more details on our unwanted fire signal reduction policy.

Follow the simple rules

Compliance with the simple rules below will help to release the fire service for more essential duties.

They may also help to save you from the permanent loss of business so frequently associated with a major fire.

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