Who is responsible for fire safety?
The Regulatory Reform Order (RRO) states that you’re responsible for fire safety if you’re:
- an employer
- a landlord
- an occupier, or someone in control of, commercial or non-domestic premises
This role is described as the ‘responsible person’.
What are my fire safety responsibilities?
If you’re recognised as the responsible person for fire safety, you may have the following questions:
- Do I need a Fire Risk Assessment?
- What are my duties as the responsible person?
- What is a competent person?
Do I need a Fire Risk Assessment?
First, do you have a fire risk assessment? If you do, that’s great – but you should check it’s in date, and has been carried out by someone ‘competent’.
If you don’t have a fire risk assessment, you must arrange to have one conducted as soon as possible. You may be able to do it yourself, as long as you have the appropriate experience, i.e. are you a competent person?
Your fire risk assessment is just that – an assessment of the risk of fire in your specific premises. It should highlight how to mitigate those risks with fire safety measures. That brings us on to your next responsibility which is to implement the recommended safety measures as soon as possible. Thereafter, it’s your duty to schedule regular maintenance.
You should also let everyone in your building know what’s been arranged and offer training to those who require it by law.
What are my duties as the responsible person?
- Conduct a fire risk assessment (or arrange for someone competent to conduct it)
- Put appropriate fire safety measures in place
- Maintain all fire safety equipment
- Inform staff of your fire safety procedures
- Have an emergency plan in place for when fire breaks out
- If necessary, arrange staff training (e.g. for fire wardens)
What is a competent person?
The RRO doesn’t define ‘competence’ in terms of who can or can’t carry out a fire risk assessment. While that might seem unhelpful, it’s for good reason.
Consider how different the fire safety measures might be for a residential care home vs a small coffee shop? It’s almost impossible to assess the competence needed to carry out a fire risk assessment because it varies according to environment. If in doubt about competence, use a professional fire risk assessor.
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