Fire Emergency Response Planning: Preparing Your Business
Whatever business you are running, it’s important that you are prepared for potential emergencies, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of fire safety.
In order to protect both the lives of anyone on your premises and the future viability of your business, knowing how to respond in the event of a fire is not something that should be left either to chance or blind faith that people will do the right thing.
To that end, all businesses are required to have an emergency plan in place that outlines how they will respond should the worst happen. But before getting into the details of emergency planning, let’s take a look at what the relevant legislation actually says.
Emergency Planning and the Fire Safety Order
Under the terms of Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the responsible person at commercial premises has to implement a range of preventative and protective measures that are designed to both minimise the chances of a fire breaking out and give anyone in those premises the best chance of evacuating safely in the event of a fire.
According to Article 11 of the Fire Safety Order, the responsible person must further “make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the size of his undertaking and the nature of its activities, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures”.
The guidance notes accompanying this legislation state that this will require an emergency plan together with “measures for ensuring the effective operation of the plan and for ongoing checks of the appropriateness of the plan” with the purpose of providing “effective management control of the fire safety arrangements in the premises”.
That’s all well and good if you understand the language of legislation, but what does it all actually mean in practice?
What is an emergency plan?
Quite simply, an emergency plan outlines everything that should happen from the moment a fire is discovered to the point when it has been successfully extinguished and/or everyone has been safely evacuated.
This should include:
- What should happen when a fire is discovered
- How others should be warned of the presence of a fire – e.g. through the installation of a fire alarm system
- Who is responsible for calling the fire brigade
- How everyone, including those identified as being particularly at risk, can be safely evacuated – e.g. identifying clear escape routes and drawing up Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs)
- Where people should assemble following evacuation for roll call
- What fire fighting equipment should be provided and where it should be located
- Specific responsibilities allocated to individuals, e.g. fire wardens
- Liaison with the emergency services
Once the plan is in place, you also need to make sure everyone in your organisation knows about it and then test it regularly so that it has the best chance of running smoothly in an emergency.
If you employ five or more people, you are responsible for licensed premises or you are required to as a result of an alterations notice, then you also need to keep a written record of your emergency plan.
Why does my business need an emergency plan?
There are two main reasons your business should have an emergency plan for how you would deal with a fire emergency at your commercial premises. They are:
- Because you are required to by law
- Because if the worst happens it could save lives
The starting point for any good and effective fire emergency plan is a professionally conducted fire risk assessment. If your business is based in South East England, including London and Surrey, Scutum London can provide the necessary support to ensure your business meets all its obligations under the Fire Safety Order, including conducting fire risk assessments and putting together your emergency plan.
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About Scutum London
Scutum London is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.
From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.
With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).
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