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Fire Safety Penalties | The risks of non-compliance

Posted: 07/08/2013 11:42

Whether you own or rent your commercial premises, you should be aware that there is no escape from fire safety legislation.

It is a legal requirement to undertake a fire safety risk assessment and to implement the required fire safety works, highlighted by the assessment. Many existing business owners simply put off doing a fire risk assessment to avoid the ensuing work. New businesses fail to include the cost of effective fire safety in their start up plans and then find the potential cost prohibitive so early in business life.

Legality

However, compliance with fire safety legislation is compulsory and failure to comply is simply illegal and punishable through the normal judicial channels. This could be a substantial fine and a requirement to carry out the correct works, or, if the negligence has resulted in a fire which put people at risk, it could even result in a prison sentence.

It appears, as with all rules in society, there are some who are willing to take risks and face the penalties should they get caught.  On some occasions, this risk is fairly calculated, where the risk of getting caught is...

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Fire Safety Training | Know the drill

Posted: 31/07/2013 11:38

While many companies and organisations know the importance of good fire safety precautions within a building, the majority do not put the same effort and consideration into fire safety training.

Within any organisation containing staff, there should be two levels of fire training. The first level is for all staff in the building and the more advanced training should be delivered to those members of staff holding a responsible relevant position.  They may be Fire Wardens or Marshals, Health & Safety Managers, Building or Facility Management or Fire Safety Managers or the 'Responsible person' named in your fire risk assessment.  The number and type of roles will be heavily dependent on the organisation and number of occupants etc. 
 
Fire safety training for all staff members is a legal obligation

Each new member of staff should receive adequate fire safety training. While the first level of fire safety training can be more generalised in nature, you should take the time to ensure that it is personalised to the building. For example, you might tell your staff to...

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Crying Wolf – the dangers of false alarms in fire safety

Posted: 26/07/2013 12:44

Everyone knows the story of the boy who cried wolf and who eventually wasn't believed when there really was a wolf. A badly configured or faulty fire alarm system is effectively crying wolf on your behalf, which can cause some serious problems.

In the industry, these are known as unwanted fire signals. There are two main problems arising from such instances, namely:

 Occupants become desensitised to the sound of the fire alarm
 Emergency services may divert essential resources away genuine emergencies 

In the first case, where a fire alarm is sounded multiple times in a building, its occupants are shown to become desensitised to the sound, assuming it is a false alarm. It may be a false alarm, but on the occasion when it is not, the reaction time is slowed and some occupants may simply choose not to evacuate at all. In terms of fire safety, this is disastrous.

In the second instance, the Fire Service may spend time and resources attending fire alarm activations in your building which...

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Fire Risk Assessment for business – Legal requirements – Firestoppers!

Posted: 16/07/2013 15:10

There is a legal requirement to have an up to date fire risk assessment for all businesses with over five occupants, or for businesses with a public area, such as shops or public houses.

The part of an effective fire safety action plan that is most often unrecognised or forgotten by business owners is compartmentation. Put simply, compartmentation is the division of a building into separate cells, so that fire in one cell will not spread into the next.

Compartmentation is partly accomplished by the use of firestoppers, which can commonly be something as simple as a fire door. However, many building users do not realise that the construction around the fire door will also be fire rated.

The primary aim of any compartmentation or firestoppers is to preserve a means of escape for people who may be inside the building. A simple office building, for example, may be open plan with only one exit staircase. However, this staircase should be encased by fire walls and doors to ensure that fire cannot pass into the...

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Plan for the worst - How to manage a situation where fire develops in your premises

Posted: 08/07/2013 12:00

After completing your online fire risk assessment and fire safety report, and having carried out all the actions raised by the process, it might seem that there really is nothing else for a responsible person to do, to avoid and manage situations involving fire risk.

Sometimes it is the case that even when all necessary and legal precautions have been taken, unforeseen circumstances can still cause fire in your premises, and we are going to look at what you can do when that situation occurs.

The first point to be made is that even if your building alarm system contains an 'auto-dialler' facility to alert the emergency fire and rescue services to the alarm, this may not be sufficient to save your premises (and sometimes its occupants) in the case of a fire.  

The fire services throughout the UK have employed their own risk assessed system to avoid the dangers of sending out huge fire trucks to false alarms and false positive reactions from alarm systems. Their risk limitation methods can include driving at...

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