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August 11, 2017

5 handy tips for managing Fire Safety

As we have seen lately, successful managing of fire safety of any property is of the utmost importance. It can quite literally be a matter of life and death. In our recent blog The importance of Fire Risk Assessments we took a close look at just one component required, but there is so much more to consider. We’ve put together some handy tips to ensure you take on a holistic approach for fire safety management in your business:

1. Embed a safety culture

Here at Shield Safety Group we truly believe that the most effective way to manage all areas of safety is to embed a ‘safety culture’ within the business that everyone is onboard with. It is good practice to have roles and responsibilities relating to fire safety outlined in a written document that is read by all, with a declaration signed by all key members involved e.g. the Responsible Person and Fire Marshals.

2. Ongoing monitoring

Successfully managing fire safety requires more input than just a ‘one-off’ activity carried out during the annual Fire Risk Assessment (FRA). Once the FRA is in place, not only do recommendations and improvements found during the assessment need to be addressed, monitoring needs to be made part of the daily operating procedures to ensure standards are maintained. General ‘housekeeping checks’ should be regularly conducted at varying time periods: daily, weekly, monthly, six monthly and annual. Checks will ensure that key areas such as fire doors, fire safety systems, emergency lighting, signage, fire fighting equipment (and more) remain in working order and that processes and procedures, as outlined in tip 1, are consistently followed.

3. Well trained staff

All members of your team should complete fire safety awareness training as part of their induction. Those members of your team who are then part of your internal ‘fire team’ – for example fire marshals or fire wardens – then need further training in order for them to be competent in carrying out their duties that relate to fire safety and emergency procedures in addition to night staff. A sufficient number of your colleagues must be trained to this level, usually Level 2 Fire Safety, to ensure you have adequate cover available on shift 24 hours a day (where required).

4. Planning and practicing 

It is essential to have a written evacuation plan that is communicated, trained and practiced so that all managers and colleagues understand their roles and responsibilities should the event occur. If there are large numbers of customers in the locations then you may have to include in your plan all of the available emergency exits which should be used on the activation of the alarm. Evacuation notices must be displayed in clear, obvious places containing a concise version of the plan. More detailed instructions need to be placed in all staffrooms and on all routes to escape.

Ever wondered what would happen in an emergency situation? Don’t, try it out. Regular fire drills and practices of evacuation routes will not only ensure that you know they work, your team will also be confident in the event of a real-life emergency that they know what to do and that they know where the assembly point is. Once the evacuation plan has been tried and tested, ensure you record this, perhaps in a Compliance Diary, this will then act as your due diligence.

5. Other stakeholders

Contrary to popular belief it’s not just the fire service who need to be happy with the provisions you have in place (though of course it is vital that they are!). Other stakeholders, such as your insurance company, also need to be satisfied with what you have in place. How can you show them this? Certification is your key evidence in this area. One central location to store this will enable instant access and ensure security, have you thought about a software solution?

By ensuring that all five of these tips are a part of your day-to-day safety management, you will be able to show that you are doing all that is reasonably practicable.

The key thing to remember is that managing fire safety is an ongoing process that needs constant attention. Some of the early investigations into the recent Grenfell Tower investigation show that in addition to the cladding, there were some vital warning signs showing poor fire safety that were not identified due to a lack of regular inspections.

Shield Safety Group specialises in supporting clients with these handy tips, FRAs and more – making fire safety simple. To find out how we can support your business call 0203 740 3744 or email sales@shieldsafety.co.uk

The information contained in this blog article has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official Food Safety, Fire Safety and Health & Safety advice. Shield Safety take no responsibility if the information in the blog article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. For official guidance and to engage with Shield Safety services please do call our team on 020 3740 3744 or email hello@shieldsafety.co.uk.