Misinformation is everywhere. And the subject of fire safety is certainly not immune to a few untruths. There are a few myths surrounding commercial fire safety that we think need to be addressed.
MYTH 1 “Only Employing Fewer Than Five People Means You Aren’t Covered by Fire Regulations”
It doesn’t matter how small your business is, you have to adhere to fire regulations to ensure the safety of your staff – regardless of how many you have. As an employer, it is your responsibility to put in place suitable fire safety measures, provide staff with up to date safety information and ensure staff know what to do in case of an emergency. You also need to have regular fire risk assessments conducted. You must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has five or more people.
MYTH 2 “You Only Need to Think About Your Fire Alarms and Extinguishers When They’re Being Fitted”
It is extremely important that you regularly test your alarm systems to ensure they are in working order. If an alarm stops working it’s essential to know before a fire breaks out and get it repaired. You also need to ensure you have the correct fire safety equipment and systems for your particular building. Things like clearly marked fire exits, emergency lighting and automatic fire doors also need to be assessed regularly.
MYTH 3 “It’s Just All Paperwork and the Authorities Can’t Serve up any Real Punishment”
Local fire and rescue authorities conduct regular inspections and can issue a range of different fire safety notices depending on what they find. An alteration notice is given if your premises has high risk factors or will have high safety risks if the use of the premises changes. It will recommend alterations that would need to be made. An enforcement notice details a serious risk that is not being managed and gives you a date to rectify the problem. A prohibition notice is issued if the fire and rescue authority deems a fire risk on your premises so great that your premises needs to close, or have restricted access. You are also at risk of a hefty fine or even prison if you fail to adhere to fire safety regulations.
MYTH 4 “Once One Sprinkler is Activated, The Rest of Them Automatically Follow Suit”
The sprinkler that is closest to the fire will activate but there is no system that makes every other sprinkler on the premises go off too. Only sprinklers that are near the fire activate – sometimes it might just be only one (despite what you may have seen in films and TV!).
MYTH 5 “You Only Need to Adhere to Fire Legislation if a Fire Officer Visits”
It doesn’t matter whether or not you receive a visit from a fire officer or not, all non-domestic premises must adhere to Fire Safety Order 2005. A fire officer could visit at any time and if you are not compliant you could face a fine or even worse, prison sentence.
If you would like help with your commercial fire safety training & fire risk assessments, contact us at Total Fire Services. We can ensure that you as a business owner are adhering to all relevant fire safety regulations.