“Disaster in 15 minutes”, “High rise horror”, “Killer Inferno”
Headlines following Grenfell Tower fire
Fire Safety – An Introduction
Since the shocking events last June fire safety has been hotly discussed. A multitude of opinions and advice has been thrown out in to the public domain which seems to conflict and contradict each other.
Whilst there has been a distinct decrease in fire related fatalities in the past decade, the majority of fatalities from fire happen within domestic premises. It is vital that fire safety is treated seriously as it unfortunately has fatal repercussions.
Legislation, rules and building regulations differ between England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In England and Wales the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 forms the legal basis for fire safety. Within this piece of legislation it outlines who is responsible for fire safety and the relevant person is known as the “Responsible Person”.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 defines the responsible person by the following: In relation to a workplace it is the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under their control. In relation to any premises that are not a workplace the responsible person is (i) the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or (ii) the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.
This responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by or under this Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
A Fire Risk Assessment is the document where these findings and any improvements required are recorded. This assessment also forms the basis for proper fire safety management for a property. A periodic review is required and this is based on the overall complexity and level of risk.
By fully utilising this assessment, seeking guidance, making necessary improvements and regularly reviewing fire safety; the responsible person has a sound basis on which to ensure that a building and its users can be in a safe environment.