The One Simple Thing You Can Do to Minimise Fire Risk

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Concerns about the risk of fire have never been greater but you might be able to take more of an active role in minimising fire risk than you thought.

If you’re responsible for commercial premises - either as a building owner, a management company or an occupier - you not only need to ensure your building has all the fire protection hardware and systems integration needed to optimise asset protection and life safety in the event of a fire; you need an emergency plan too.

The good news on the fire systems hardware and integration front is that WLS can help you ensure your fire safety installation meets the specific needs of your building and its occupiers, based on a full site survey and more than 20 years at the forefront of our sector. Your emergency plan can ensure that your safety provision is recorded in black and white so that it can be reviewed, revised and shared with all those who need to see it.

We’re not emergency planning consultants at WLS but we are the fire safety company that always works hard to go the extra mile for our customers. So, to help you consider some of the areas you need to include in your emergency plan, we’ve compiled this simple outline.

Why do I need an Emergency Plan?

Part of the function of your emergency plan is to act as a checklist so that you can demonstrate you have considered all elements of fire safety. It provides a reference for the team managing the building, its occupiers and any authorities carrying out routine checks, as well as giving you a framework for viewing whether your fire safety provision is up-to-date and fit-for-purpose.

What should it include?

You should show that you have suitable fire detection systems in place, along with a process for identifying false alarms and an emergency chain of command, with designated responsibility for calling 999. The plan should also include maintenance best practice, such as keeping escape routes and exits clear, ensuring fire doors open easily and marking escape routes and exits, with emergency lighting in good working order where required.

Evacuation procedures, including suitable routes and exits, meeting points and provision for those with limited mobility of visual impairment should also be included along with any training and fire drill regimes you have put in place.

Should it provide a practical guide?

In addition to helping you assess whether your building is prepared to be as resilient as possible in the event of a fire, your emergency plan provides an ideal way of deciding roles, responsibilities and processes if a fire should occur.

The document should highlight what an individual should do if they discover a fire, how to warn others, implement an evacuation - including any provision for those with special needs - guidance on calling out the Fire Brigade and a summary of the fire-fighting equipment on site and where this is located. The plan should also include advice of isolating the power supply, evacuating the building and carrying out a roll call in a safe place, with roles and responsibilities clearly defined.

Do I have to have an Emergency Plan?

It’s not just a great way to keep your staff and building safer, if you operate a building that has to have a license of any kind or you’re an employer with more than five employees it’s a mandatory requirement.

Your role in minimising risk

Awareness of the danger of fire has never been greater, which is good news for improved fire safety. The reality is that effective detection and robust safety procedures dramatically reduce fire risk and having a thoroughly compiled and regularly reviewed Emergency Plan is a simple way in which you can contribute to risk minimisation.

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Eleanor Cessford