Fire Safety & Safety Measures Guidance From Acorn Health and Safety Bristol
In the past few weeks we have, understandably received a significant amount of contact regarding fire safety from customers seeking reassurance that the fire safety measures they have in place are effective and that they are complying with their statutory duties, something that has been reiterated by a number organisations including the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Department for Local Communities and Government.
In a small number of cases we’ve visited premises to assist with the review and updating of a fire risk assessment, however, on most occasions, we’ve been providing advice on good practice. The following is not definitive, however asking the following questions and revisiting the control measures you have in place will help ensure everyone’s safety.
Ensure everyone knows what action to take in the event of a fire, this might include staff members, patients/residents, visitors, contractors and those with specific responsibilities such as managers and fire marshals. Who is responsible for dialling 999? Are fire action and evacuation notices displayed appropriately where required?
Ensure there is power to the panel and the panel is functioning correctly with no faults displaying if you’ve battery operated detectors check they are working. Check your alarm from different call points on a weekly basis and ensure its regularly serviced by a competent person
Can you see to leave premises in an emergency? Is emergency lighting receiving power and regularly tested? If you’ve basic lighting such as a torch is it charged/working and located in the most suitable place?
Is a high standard of housekeeping maintained throughout the premises? Are bins regularly emptied and stored securely away from the building? Are escape routes clear, unobstructed and easily accessible? Are higher risk areas secure and appropriately managed, for example, avoiding storing combustible materials in boiler or plant rooms?
Are potential sources of ignition appropriately controlled? For example, this includes electrical safety, the use of candles/matches, tools producing heat or sparks and smoking. Are gas appliances inspected and maintained on a regular basis?
Passive Fire Protection
Where fitted, do fire doors close fully into frames and fitted with an appropriate self-closure? Are hinges intact, screws tight and all intumescent seals in place. Can fire door’s close freely and easily in the event of a fire? Are walls intact, particularly those in escape routes? Is there good fire stopping in place where smoke/fire could spread between floors areas of a building (for example where cabling or pipework leaves gaps)
Has everyone who requires it been provided with the necessary information, instruction and training?
In business premises a responsible person must undertake a fire risk assessment, this is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, this also extends properties such as HMO’s and the communal areas of blocks of flats and similar. If you’re a tenant ask your landlord or managing agent for a copy of the fire risk assessment.
Likewise, if you’ve any concerns regarding the use of aluminium composite materials (ACM’s) in the cladding, again speak with your landlord or managing agent.
Danny Street, Director