Checkmate provides an overview of fire safety in 2024. Fire safety should always be a priority. But as the end of the year draws closer, now’s a good time to assess risks and make preparations for the year ahead.
Here, we cover crucial points to consider for 2024, from fire risk assessment reviews and training, to fire extinguisher checks and services. Finally, we’ll give an overview of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, that came into force on 23rd January 2023.
Fire risk assessment reviews and training
Fire risks are ever changing, so fire risk assessments must be continually reviewed. Any significant changes made to a premises must be identified and recorded in the fire safety log book during a fire risk assessment. Changes might take the form of new risk, for example, staff reductions creating new responsibilities, or having more material onsite thanks to a surge in demand.
It’s the duty of the responsible person to ensure that should they be absent, there are enough trained people onsite to assist with fire safety. Business owners may have to stagger shifts, for example. If that’s the case, is there a trained person available at all times?
Key fire safety equipment
Fire safety signage: Before the year ends, a walk around the building can help check that all appropriate fire safety signage is installed and visible to the building’s users. Fire safety signage is a legal obligation that ensures people can escape the building safely in the event of an emergency. Fire safety signs provide instruction and continued reassurance along an escape route. For even further assurance that all users of the building understand what’s expected of them during an evacuation, regular fire drills are recommended. This is particularly important at a time when an emergency escape plan is under regular review.
Fire extinguishers and storage
Business owners must ensure the right type of fire extinguishers are on site – it’s paramount that these are stored securely and protected from harsh weather . For areas with extreme levels of footfall and exposure, the newly launched Commander Stand Inserts provide additional protection for 2kg CO2, 6ltr/kg and 9ltr/kg fire extinguishers. Simply place the inserts into the base of the Commander Stand and slot the fire extinguishers in.
Fire extinguisher checks and maintenance
To comply with British Standards, fire engineers should be brought onsite to carry out compulsory annual fire extinguisher servicing. This competent, fully trained technician will check the fire extinguishers are in good working order, as well as confirm the fire extinguisher type and location is correct. Fire extinguisher maintenance by a competent person should be treated with huge importance – they’ll ensure compliance with the law, after all.
Year gauge indicator dots are used to specify when the fire extinguisher last underwent a service, while service labels are used by engineers to record fire extinguisher testing and provide details of the date and corresponding information. Pull-tite seals (also known as anti-tamper seals) indicate whether a fire extinguisher has been used, tampered with, or accidentally discharged. This low-cost solution is easy to fit and easy to break off in an emergency.
Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
On 23rd January 2023, the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into force. These regulations seek to improve fire safety in high-rise residential buildings and other multi-occupied residential buildings. The regulations pose new duties on the responsible persons to improve the safety of residents, while providing useful information to the fire and rescue service (FRS) to support an emergency response.
To comply with the new regulations, the responsible persons of high-rise residential buildings must ensure:
- A secure information box is installed and maintained in or outside the building. This must be accessible to local fire and rescue authority and include the name, address and UK telephone number of the responsible person.
- A record of the design of the building’s external walls is prepared. This must include details of the materials from which they are constructed, the level of risk these materials or design may give rise to, and the risk reduction steps made in response to these.
- Plans are prepared for each floor of the high-rise building, identifying all lifts, key fire-fighting equipment in the building, access points, main stairways, and other relevant information about the building. Documents must also be provided to local fire and rescue authorities.
- Monthly routine check of lifts, fire alarms, and other fire safety equipment, as well as clear markings of floor identification in the form of signage.
- Fire safety instructions are prominently displayed. A copy of these instructions, alongside information about fire doors, must be given to all residents every 12 months, and all new residents as soon as possible after they move in.
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