What is a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment is a process involving the systematic evaluation of the factors that determine the hazard from fire, the likelihood that there will be a fire and the consequences if one were to occur.
A fire risk assessment is required to satisfy the relevant legislation with the objective being the safety of the occupants of the building. Some of the recommendations may be beneficial to property protection too.
Is it required by Law?
Yes. There are few exceptions.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a fire risk assessment is necessary in virtually all buildings in England and Wales, other than domestic dwellings. Similar requirements apply in Scotland under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, and in Northern Ireland under the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 .
What skills are required to carry out a fire risk assessment?
The person carrying out the fire risk assessment should be competent to do so.
A competent person may be regarded as a person with sufficient training and experience, knowledge or other qualities, to enable him or her to carry out a defined task properly.
To assure you of the competence of our staff, it is our policy that consultants undertaking fire risk assessments are listed on the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) – Register of Fire Risk Assessors and Auditors. Persons listed on the Register must have demonstrated their competence to the IFE.
What is involved?
A fire risk assessment involves a physical inspection of the building to determine the adequacy of the existing fire precautions and the need for any additional measures. However, of equal importance to the physical inspection is a review of fire safety management in the organisation and consideration of the human factors – how people will respond to an emergency and whether they will take appropriate action.
There are practical limits to the extent of the survey and evaluation of the fire precautions. In undertaking a fire risk assessment, we would not carry out detailed engineering evaluation or testing of fire protection systems, emergency escape lighting, etc. but we would inspect such systems visually.
The scope of the fire risk assessment would include:
- Fire loss experience.
- Fire hazards.
- Fire prevention.
- Storage and handling of flammable liquids and gases.
- Means of escape.
- Flammability of linings.
- Emergency escape lighting.
- Fire safety signs and notices.
- Fire detection and fire alarm systems.
- Fire extinguishing systems and appliances.
- Smoke control systems.
- Facilities for use by the fire and rescue service.
- Arrangements for management of fire safety.
- Fire procedures.
- Training and drills.
- Testing and maintenance.
When does it need to be repeated?
- The fire risk assessment process is intended to be dynamic, and take into account change.
- Fire risk assessments should be reviewed from time to time or if there is a reason to suspect that it is no longer valid or if significant changes take place, such as an increase in the numbers of people in the building or changes to floor layouts.
- Fire risk assessments should also be reviewed after a fire.