Fire Safety Compliance

keep-focused-and-be-compliant

What you need to do for fire and safety compliance

As the responsible person you must carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises. This will identify what you need to do to prevent fire and keep people safe. You must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has 5 or more people.

Resulting from the fire risk assessment there may be a need to install and maintain some or all of the following systems: -

  • Fire Alarm System
  • Disabled Refuge System
  • Automatic Opening Vent (AOV)
  • Emergency Lighting
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire and Safety Signage

Once the systems have been installed they need to be maintained by a competent company with third party accreditation so you are protected. Companies that are BAFE (British Approval for Fire Equipment) approved offer this.

In addition to the periodic testing of the fire alarm and disabled refuge system by the competent company maintaining the system (twice a year normally , could be four times a year for residential homes) there are a number of checks that you have to do in order to be compliant. We have listed these below: -

Legislation – Weekly Testing Fire Alarms

 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) places legally enforceable requirements on organisations, where necessary, to safeguard the safety of relevant persons within the premises in the event of fire. The responsible person must “ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises …are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. Annual Service and Maintenance should be conducted by a competent person.

The “Responsible person” is normally the owner, landlord or business proprietor or a member of staff delegated with responsibility for fire safety. The “competent person” is someone qualified by training and experience to undertake service and maintenance of the fire alarm. In addition to annual Servicing it is recommended that the Responsible person carry out testing of the fire alarm equipment on a regular basis i.e. at least weekly to determine if the fire alarm activates and the ancillary devices operate

  • Isolate any plant or systems as necessary prior to initiating fire alarm system,
  • Check that where buildings have more than one FA panel networked together, that all panels activated and that the sounders operated throughout the building,
  • Once alarm initiated and sounders cancelled, but before the system is reset – check the following functions:
  • Ensure that all doors fitted with ‘Electromagnetic Door Security Locking Systems’ released as part of the fire alarm activation
  • Ensure that any doors fitted with ‘Electromagnetic Hold Open Devices’ released and that the fire doors closed fully shut
  • Ensure that the ‘Fire Alarm Activated Do Not Enter’ signs operate, where fitted to building entrances or building separation points
  • Test Deaf Message System connected to the some fire alarm panels using a mobile phone texting system
  • Ensure that the fire signal went back to Monitoring Station
  • Report or Repair any non-functioning devices, sounders, bells, door release or locking systems immediately.

The designated responsible person within the organisation should record the results of this inspection and arrange for corrective action, if necessary, by a competent person. If you employ 5 or more people it is also a legal requirement to keep a permanent Record of all servicing, maintenance and inspections for inspection by the Fire Services Inspectorate.

In addition to the periodic testing of the emergency lighting system by the competent company maintaining the system (once a year normally carrying out a full 3 hour discharge test) there are a number of checks that you have to do in order to be compliant. We have listed these below:-

Legislation – Inspections of Emergency Lighting

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) places legally enforceable requirements on organisations, where necessary, to safeguard the safety of relevant persons within the premises in the event of fire. The responsible person must “ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises …are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. Annual Service and Maintenance should be conducted by a competent person.

The “Responsible person” is normally the owner, landlord or business proprietor or a member of staff delegated with responsibility for fire safety. The “competent person” is someone qualified by training and experience to undertake service and maintenance of emergency lighting.

In addition to annual Servicing it is recommended that the Responsible person carry out inspections of all emergency lighting equipment on a regular basis i.e. at least monthly to determine if the emergency light illuminates in the event of power failure

Monthly Emergency Lighting Tests

All emergency lighting systems must be tested monthly. The test is a short functional test in accordance with BS EN 50172:2004 / BS 5266-8:2004.

The period of simulated failure should be sufficient for the purpose of this test while minimising damage to the system components, e.g. lamps. During this period, all luminaires and signs shall be checked to ensure that they are present, clean and functioning correctly.

The designated responsible person within the organisation should record the results of this inspection and arrange for corrective action, if necessary, by a competent person. If you employ 5 or more people it is also a legal requirement to keep a permanent Record of all servicing, maintenance and inspections for inspection by the Fire Services Inspectorate.

In addition to the periodic testing of the fire extinguishers system by the competent company maintaining the system (once a year normally) there are a number of checks that you have to do in order to be compliant. We have listed these below: -

Legislation – Visual Inspections of Fire Extinguishers

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) places legally enforceable requirements on organisations, where necessary, to safeguard the safety of relevant persons within the premises in the event of fire. The responsible person must “ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises …are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. Annual Service and Maintenance should be conducted by a competent person.

The “Responsible person” is normally the owner, landlord or business proprietor or a member of staff delegated with responsibility for fire safety. The “competent person” is someone qualified by training and experience to undertake service and maintenance of fire extinguishers.

In addition to annual Servicing it is recommended that the Responsible person carry out visual inspections of all extinguishers and fire safety equipment on a regular basis i.e. at least monthly to determine if the extinguisher has been discharged or damaged.

BS5306:3 Code of Practice for Fire Extinguisher Service and Maintenance provides recommendations on how to conduct a visual inspection as follows.

a) each extinguisher is correctly located in the designated place;
b) each extinguisher is unobstructed and visible;
c) the operating instructions of each extinguisher are clean and
legible and face outwards;
d) each extinguisher has not been operated and is not obviously
damaged or has any missing parts;
e) the reading of any pressure gauge or indicator fitted to an
extinguisher is within operational and safety limits;
f) the seals and tamper indicators of each extinguisher are not
broken or missing.

The designated responsible person within the organisation should record the results of this visual inspection and arrange for corrective action, if necessary, by a competent person. If you employ 5 or more people it is also a legal requirement to keep a permanent Record of all servicing, maintenance and inspections for inspection by the Fire Services Inspectorate.

As you can see there is a lot of recording to do to remain compliant. If you do not have someone who can undertake the weekly testing procedure we can cost you to do this work.

Fire Precautions Log Book

You should have a fire alarm log book where you can record the following:-

  • Register of Competent Persons
  • Fire Evacuation Drills
  • Fire Alarm Location
  • Fault Log
  • Weekly Fire Alarm Routine Tests
  • Record of Fire Alarm Inspection/Maintenance
  • Emergency Lights Location
  • Record of Emergency Lighting Inspection/Maintenance
  • Monthly Emergency Lighting Routine Tests
  • Fire Extinguishers Location
  • Record of Fire Extinguishers Inspection/Maintenance
  • Monthly Fire Extinguishers Routine Tests
  • Staff Training
  • Fire Officer Visits

We can provide this if necessary. It would be ideal to keep it close to the fire panel and a metal lockable box can be provided for this use.

When testing the fire alarm you will need to know how to activate the manual call points (a different one should be tested each time) and to silence the panel. It is recommended that you test at the same time each week as it is easy to advise staff, residents or visitors of that check. Its advisable where possible to do this during normal working hours so people are familiar with the alarm sound.

It is part of the British Standard that a Fire Zone Chart is located next to the panel, this is important and sometimes overlooked but is there to assist the fire brigade and could save time and lives. If you system does not have one you need to get one done. Example below.

Zone

 

As you can see from the zone chart the is a arrow indicating where you are when you are looking at the chart.

Some guidelines to help you: -

  • Alarm Manual Call Points should be resettable ie if pressed then the action of turning a key resets them into the correct mode. If you have manual call points with frangible elements (glass that breaks when pressed) then they have to be replaced.
  • New Manual Call Points have to have a plastic hinged cover on them which has to be lifted before the system is depressed.
  • All Manual Call Points have to have a sign next to them or a fire action sign next to them. They are strongly advised to be photoluminescent (glow in the dark)

Fire Pictogram call

We can source these items for you

 

Over the last few years there has been a rise in the number of holdback units fitted onto Fire Doors (commonly known as Dorgards). If you have these installed on any fire doors then you need a smoke detector one metre either side of the door connected to the fire alarm and the correct sound levels when the system is activated. They also form part of the weekly check (see previous information)

Dorgard-Black

 

Your emergency lighting is an important part of your fire precautions as during a fire quite often the mains supply can trip. Ensuring you have adequate lighting to find your way out from site is very important. Again regular testing to ensure it comes on (recommended monthly) will keep your system fit for purpose.

Fire extinguishers have to be professionally maintained if they are on your premises, you cannot just buy them off the internet and place them yourself unless you have undergone the correct training to do so. Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers in general are being recommended to be removed or not used in premises due to the nature of their contents. If used in a confined area they can cause a choking effect on the person using them. Also if there has been no risk assessment of the people in the area of use (ie asthmatics or people with breathing difficulties) then there could be repercussions. There are new alternatives available – please ask.

Lastly the fire and safety signage in the building is very important. Rule of thumb is wherever you are in a building you should be able to see a fire exit or a sign directing you to a fire exit. We have a separate guide to siting Fire and Safety Signage that we can email to you.

From the Government Website

Who’s responsible?

You’re responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:

  • an employer
  • the owner
  • the landlord
  • an occupier
  • anyone else with control of the premises, for example a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent or risk assessor

You’re known as the ‘responsible person’. If there’s more than one responsible person, you have to work together to meet your responsibilities. The Fire Safety Order also applies if you have paying guests, for example if you run a bed and breakfast, guesthouse or let a self-catering property.

Responsibilities

As the responsible person you must:

  • carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly
  • tell staff or their representatives about the risks you’ve identified
  • put in place, and maintain, appropriate fire safety measures
  • plan for an emergency
  • provide staff information, fire safety instruction and training

Non-domestic premises

Non-domestic premises are:

  • all workplaces and commercial premises
  • all premises the public have access to
  • the common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings

Want this report emailed to you? Ring 01752 511222 or contact us on sales@universalfireandsecurity.co.uk