We know that every place is special and faces its own challenges. That’s why we’ve put together these short advice sections for different kinds of buildings and businesses that include practical top tips from our experience of each sector.
Office can be busy places where everyone is focused on their work and fire safety can seem like an unnecessary burden. Things to think about particularly in the office environment include:
Storage - keep fire exits clear
Include fire safety as part of induction process
Personal emergency evacuation plans for people with disabilities
Pubs & restaurants
With kitchens as a significant high risk area, it’s not uncommon for fires to start in restaurants and pubs. So take extra care with:
Cleaning regimes for extractor fans
Installation of correct fire detection - heat detectors in kitchens can reduce false alarms
Use of outdoor heaters in confined spaces (particularly in combination with flammable decorations for special events!)
Risk Assessments for any staff sleeping on-site.
Often with a high staff turnover, hotels need to take particular care because people are sleeping on the premises. Specifically:
Fire alarm sounders should usually be present in every room
Careful attention should be given to evacuation procedure, staff training and signage as guests will not be familiar with the building layout
Pay attention to the kitchen area - is it sufficiently separated from the sleeping space and fitted with appropriate detection?
Schools & Nurseries
In places where safety is such an important consideration, you’d be surprised how often mistakes are made in regards to Fire Risk Assessments. Take care with:
Apparent ‘conflicts’ with safeguarding and fire safety - I’ve seen lots of examples of locked fire doors
Assembly points - they should be far enough away from the building to provide a ‘place of ultimate safety’
Keeping protected staircases and escape routes ‘sterile’ - they shouldn’t be loaded with displays, books etc!
Retail units are often situated where a landlord has responsibility for shared parts and many of the services are provided, however the manager or the retail space is still responsible for fire safety locally. Think about:
Staff training & record keeping
Keeping fire exits clear especially when deliveries are made
Layout of shop - not overloading exit routes with stock
Workshops & creative spaces
I love visiting workshops and creative spaces, like art studios - but they often present some very particular fire safety issues! For example:
Safe storage of chemicals and paints - do you need to notify the fire service about any particular hazardous materials that are kept on site?
Mitigate as far as possible high risk activities like the use of welding gear, glue guns or other heat processes - and include these as specific items in the Fire Risk Assessment
CHURCH & Community
Church and community buildings face particular challenges including:
Use of candles - did you know that in the last 3 years 140 fires started in London because of the religious use of candles?
Volunteers often make up a significant part of the staff - think about your approach to training & record keeping
Often in older buildings that have been modified over the years - careful attention should be given to escape routes and signage
Medical practices such as Doctors, Dentists and Vets are busy high pressure environments, with high risk elements. Fire safety considerations include:
Safe storage of Oxygen supplies
Evacuation planning for individuals with mobility issues
Fire exits and compartmentation in buildings that were often not design for their current high intensity use
For larger facilities, such as hospitals consideration should also be given to the staged evacuation and sprinkler installation.
Landlords have specific legal responsibilities towards tenants to make sure that their properties are safe. Relevant issues include:
Gas safe & electrical testing records
Fire Risk Assessments for common parts (e.g. lobbies and staircases)
Installation of appropriate fire detection & alarms
The combination of people sleeping overnight, mobility issues of residents and the presence of high risk areas including kitchens means that care homes need to pay particular attention to fire safety.
Personalised evacuation plans for individual residents
Fire detection and alarms in each room; sprinklers may also be appropriate
Keeping training up to date with high staff turnover and shift workers
If you are doing anything special or unusual you will need to consider the fire safety aspect of your event. Specifically:
Total safe (and legal) number of people that you can have at your event
How will you layout the space to maintain safe use of exits or without comprising exiting plans (e.g. putting up a marquee in a space usually used as an assembly point)
Whether the Fire Service should be made aware of the event
How you will communicate in the event of an emergency & whether you have enough suitable trained stewards available
Every place is special
Fire Risk Assessments are particular to each building. We use the process to improve the fire safety of your building, but also to upskill the responsible person on site. That’s why we will:
Provide a preparation checklist
Explain the inspection process while we are on-site
Provide full written report with recommendations
For business in Horsham we also offer a follow up meeting to explain the report in person & answer any questions.