NEW FIRE SAFETY LEGISLATION

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1 NEW FIRE SAFETY LEGISLATION The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 Fire Safety legislation changed A SHORT GUIDE TO MAKING YOUR PREMISES SAFE FROM FIRE

2 Fire Safety legislation changed INTRODUCTION This booklet provides simple and practical advice to people responsible for fire safety in small and medium sized businesses. It provides guidance on how to make sure that you are meeting the requirements of Part 3 of The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) WHAT HAS CHANGED? The new legislation, which came into force on 15th November 2010, seeks to replace and simplify existing fire safety legislation in non-domestic premises using a modern risk based approach to fire prevention. Put simply, it means that any person who has some level of control in premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire. WHAT CAN THIS BOOKLET DO? This booklet will lead you through a step-by-step process to achieve the safest possible outcome without, in most cases, the need for any specialist or formal knowledge. Achieving fire safety is often a matter of common sense, but it is essential you set aside enough time to work through the necessary steps. In more complicated premises or those with many people at risk, such as care homes, hospitals or large cinemas, you may need more expert help. WHERE DOES THE LEGISLATION APPLY? The fire safety legislation applies to virtually all premises and covers nearly every type of building, structure and installation. EXAMPLES INCLUDE: Offices and shops; Premises that provide care, including care homes and hospitals; Pubs, clubs and restaurants; Places of worship; Educational establishments including schools; Theatres and cinemas; Sports centres and other community premises; Hotels and hostels; Guest houses and B&B accommodation; Shared areas of properties common to several households; Houses in multiple occupation;

3 Factories and warehouses; Tents and marquees; Transport premises and facilities; Animal premises and stables; Open air events and venues. It does not apply to people s private homes, including individual flats in a block or house. WHAT ARE THE MAIN REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE LEGISLATION? You must: Carry out a fire risk assessment identifying any possible dangers and risks; Consider who may be especially at risk; Eliminate or reduce the risk from fire as far as is reasonably possible and provide general fire precautions to deal with any remaining risk; Take additional measures to make sure there is protection if flammable or explosive materials are used or stored; Create a plan to deal with any emergency in the event of fire; If you have five or more employees, or require a licence or registration, you must record the significant findings of the risk assessment and any actions you have taken to remove/ reduce the risk; Review the risk assessment when necessary. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LEGISLATION? The legislation applies to anyone who has control of premises or anyone who has a degree of control over certain areas. For example, it could be: The employer for some or all parts of the premises; The managing agent or owner for shared parts of premises or shared fire safety equipment such as fire warning systems or sprinklers; The occupier, such as self employed people or voluntary organisations if they have any control; Any other person who has some control over part of the premises. There may be premises where a number of people have shared responsibility for fire safety. If you are the person responsible for fire safety, you must make sure you carry out a fire risk assessment, although you can pass this task to some other competent person. However, you will still be responsible for meeting the requirements of the legislation. The person responsible for fire safety, either on their own or with any other person deemed responsible, must, as far as is reasonably practical, make sure that everyone on the premises can escape safely if there is a fire. This is different from previous legislation in that you must consider everyone who might be on the premises, whether they are employees, visitors or members of the public. You should pay particular attention to people who may have a disability or anyone who may need special help.

4 Fire Safety legislation changed 1 2 FIRE SAFETY RISK ASSESSMENT This can be defined as an organised and methodical look at premises, the activities carried on there, and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises. Whilst there are no fixed rules about how the fire risk assessment should be carried out, it is nonetheless important to adopt a structured approach that ensures all significant risks are addressed. Fire risk assessment is a five step process: IDENTIFY THE HAZARDS This means looking for sources of heat, fuel and oxygen which together might lead to a fire. You need to identify: Sources of ignition such as naked flames, heaters or some commercial processes; Sources of fuel such as built up waste, display materials, textiles or overstocked products; Sources of oxygen such as air conditioning, medicinal or commercial oxygen supplies. IDENTIFY THE PEOPLE AT RISK You will need to identify anyone who may be affected, e.g: People working near to fire dangers; People working alone or in isolated areas; Maintenance staff, contractors, passers by and people present outside normal working hours such as cleaners and security guards; Visitors and members of the public; Individuals and groups who may be especially at risk, e.g. young or inexperienced workers, people with mobility or sensory impairment, pregnant workers, etc.

5 3 4 5 EVALUATE, REMOVE, REDUCE AND PROTECT FROM FIRE RISK This involves evaluating the level of risk in your premises. You should remove or reduce any fire hazards where possible and reduce any risks you have identified, e.g. you should: Replace highly flammable materials with less flammable ones; Make sure you separate flammable materials from sources of ignition; Have a safe smoking policy. When you have reduced the risk as far as possible, you must assess any risk that is left and decide whether there are any further measures you need to take to make sure you provide a reasonable level of fire safety. RECORD, PLAN, INSTRUCT, INFORM AND TRAIN Record the significant findings and actions taken to remove/reduce the risk from fire; Develop and implement an appropriate emergency plan; Inform and instruct relevant persons on the actions to be taken in the event of fire; Deliver training to employees, particularly those with specific duties, e.g. fire marshals. THE FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT MUST BE REVIEWED At regular intervals; Whenever it is no longer valid, e.g. after a significant incident or near miss ; If there has been a significant change in the workplace, e.g. changes to plant, equipment, processes, substances used, personnel, etc.

6 Fire Safety legislation changed GENERAL FIRE PRECAUTIONS In this short guide, it is impossible to give detailed guidance for every type of premises. However, the minimum you should consider will include the following: A FIRE DETECTION AND WARNING SYSTEM You must have a suitable fire detection and warning system. This can range from a shouted warning to an electrical detection and warning system; Whatever system you have, it must be able to warn people in all circumstances. SAFE ROUTES FOR PEOPLE TO LEAVE THE PREMISES The ideal situation is when there is more than one escape route from all parts of the premises although this is not always possible; If only one route is available, you may need to make it fire resisting (protected) or install an automatic fire detection system; The distance people need to go to escape (the travel distance) should be as short as possible. Travel distances will vary according to the type of premises. The travel distance should be measured from the farthest point in a room to the door of a protected stairway or, if there is not a protected stairway, to the final exit from the building; Stairways, corridors and areas near the fire exits should be kept clear of obstructions and material which can catch fire and the final exit should be easy to see and get to from the stairway at ground floor level; High risk rooms should not generally open directly into a protected stairway; It is essential that escape routes are managed and maintained to ensure they can be used safely and remain available at all times when the premises are occupied; If your fire risk assessment shows that people using any floor would not be aware of a fire, you may need to consider other fire protection measures, e.g. an automatic fire detection and warning system.

7 SUITABLE FIRE EXIT DOORS You should be able to use fire exit doors and any doors on the escape routes without a key and without any specialist knowledge; In premises used by the public or large numbers of people, you may need push (panic) bars or push pads. OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER Whether you need emergency lighting; Suitable fire safety signs in all but the smallest premises; Training for your staff or anyone else you may reasonably expect to help in a fire; A management system to make sure that you maintain your fire safety systems. The above guidelines are a summary. More detailed guidance for all types of premises is available from our website ENFORCEMENT Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service will be the main agency responsible for enforcing fire safety legislation in most non-domestic premises. Its role is to audit premises in order to ensure that appropriate fire safety standards are being met. It will also look into complaints about fire safety in premises, carry out investigations after fires where poor fire safety management is discovered and may carry out targeted inspections. If you do not meet the requirements of the legislation, NIFRS will provide practical advice or, if the risk is serious, issue an enforcement notice. Except in the most serious of cases, NIFRS will work with you to achieve a satisfactory level of fire safety. Where failure to comply with fire safety duties has put people at risk of serious injury or death, or there has been a failure to comply with any notice issued under the Order, consideration will be given to prosecution.

8 Fire Safety legislation changed Visit website: For other advice contact: NORTHERN IRELAND FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE HEADQUARTERS 1 Seymour Street, LISBURN, BT27 4SX Tel: AREA COMMANDS Eastern Command 6 Bankmore Street, BELFAST, BT7 1AQ Tel: Southern Command Thomas Street, PORTADOWN, BT62 3AH Tel: Western Command 10 Crescent Link, LONDONDERRY, BT47 5FR Tel: Northern Command 21 Henry Street, BALLYMENA, BT42 3AA Tel:

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