It doesn’t matter if we are in the baking heat of a summer heatwave or in a winter wonderland – fire is an all year round risk.
For those responsible for a buildings maintenance, maybe you’re a property owner or manager responsible for arranging fire safety in your workplace, it is essential you get your building up to scratch in case of a fire.
In this blog I look at some fundamental fire safety checks in regards to appliances and the like all businesses should keep on top off, the issue of fire safety with staff is one for another blog entirely.
Fire Alarm Testing
We’ve all been sat in an office, working in the shop or generally going about our work duties and encountered a fire alarm test. Most of us see as nothing more than a mild annoyance to our ear drums, but the fact of the matter is these tests are essential.
You will be able to conduct some of these tests yourself, it is recommended to do this weekly – whilst logging each test in the building’s log book, but for maintenance you will need to enlist a specialist compliance contractor.
It is usually recommended to get a specialist in every six months; many firms will offer to conduct tests at a time when it will cause minimal disruption to your operation, so it is well worth looking out for firms offering this flexibility.
If you own a property in which people sleep, the chances are you will be required to fit smoke detectors in your premises. This is not an option; it is governed by the Housing Act 2004 (in England and Wales).
While you can of course opt to pick up fire extinguishers yourself, like when tackling the blaze itself, it is probably best left in the hands of professionals.
Many professional firms who specialise in health and safety compliance services will not only provide you with the extinguishers themselves, but also do the testing, maintenance and replacement for you as well. Once again, this is not an option, but is regulated by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
If you are unsure about the safety of your fire extinguishers, many firms out there will be glad to offer advice on the matter.
Anyone familiar with fire safety will also know the importance of emergency lighting. It is designed to give employees, customers and other people on site, a clear target to aim for should a fire break out and smoke cut down the visibility in the room.
Again, many may take these for granted, but regular checks on them are once again essential in order to meet the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. This is best achieved through a combination of user based tests and getting an inspection done by a competent person – a trained professional.
As outline from the start of this blog, in terms of fire safety training, depending on your business type, you will need to conduct the relevant training with all your employees, whether it be through classes involving outside agencies, a company provided training programme or some similar service. Regular checks of things such as obstruction of fire doors and what to do in the event of a fire itself will be covered more under this training.
This blog has focussed more on compliance on various regulations, but it is essential you delve deeper into the rules in order to ensure your property is well and truly prepared in the event of such an emergency.
Louisa Jenkins is a freelance health and safety blogger. Ahe blogs on a number of topics on the issue, including the benefits of enlisting a firm like Elecheck to conduct valid compliance assessments to ensure your firm is up to scratch when it comes to the rules and regulations.