National: 0845 519 8186
Regional: 0121 562 0002
Email: sales@s2fire.co.uk
National: 0845 519 8186
Regional: 0121 562 0002
Email: sales@s2fire.co.uk

Fire safety laws – A simple guide

UK fire safety laws can be very confusing, and baffle even the most competent business owner.  According to Gov.uk, between 2015 and 2016, over 16,000 non-domestic building fires were attended to across the UK. 21 of these resulted in fire related fatalities and over 1,000 resulted in fire related casualties.

We’ve created a simple guide to the UK’s fire safety laws, to help businesses comply with legislation and avoid prosecution, should the worst happen.

fire safety laws - S2 Fire Solutions' brief guide

Simon Millward, our director said, “We often meet with clients who are baffled by the UK’s fire safety laws, and where they stand in terms of safety assessments, so we have created a simple guide which explains the most important things that business owners should consider when it comes to being compliant.”

S2 Fire Solutions’ simple guide to UK fire safety laws:
  • Fire risk assessment

    Businesses can face hefty penalties by neglecting fire risk assessments, from prosecution and severe fines to prison sentences. It’s a huge part of UK fire safety laws, so it’s important that businesses cover themselves for the worst case scenario. All businesses must carry out a fire risk assessment, and we suggest that businesses always bring in the professionals to do so.

  • What is classed as a ‘non-domestic’ premises?

    Anything from workplaces and commercial premises, premises that involve public access and common areas of residential buildings are classed as non-domestic areas. If there is any confusion about who would be responsible for making sure a building is compliant with UK law, then it’s worth giving the experts a call.

  • Who is responsible?

    Are you are an employer, owner, landlord or in control of a non-domestic premises? You will be, by law, recognised as the ‘responsible person’ in charge of all fire safety for the property. This also applies if you own a guesthouse, hotel etc.

  • What are they responsible for?

    The designated ‘responsible person’ should ensure that they are aware of what they should be doing. The role of the ‘responsible person’ is to:
    – Carry out or have fire risk assessments of the premises put in place
    – Inform staff/co-workers about the risks identified
    – Maintain fire safety measures implemented in the premises
    – Make plans for emergency evacuations
    – Provide fire safety training

  • What is needed

    Regularly reviewed and updated fire risk assessments must be carried out on a business premises. This is the duty of the designated ‘responsible person’ in the business. If a business has more than five people on its premises, its necessary to keep a written record of a fire risk assessment. When carrying out the assessment, the ‘responsible person’ must:
    – Identify any fire hazards, and any persons at risk
    – Make efforts to remove and/or reduce any possible risks
    – Ensure that any findings are recorded
    – Create a fool-proof emergency plan and provide appropriate training/drills
    – Ensure that the fire risk assessment is maintained and updated regularly

 

  • Some things to consider

    To complete a fire risk assessment without the help of an expert, the ‘responsible person’ must consider the following:
    – Emergency exits and routes, and a comprehensible fire evacuation plan
    – Fire detection/warning systems and alarms
    – Firefighting equipment, such as fire extinguishers that are appropriate for the building’s use
    – Safe storage and removal of hazardous substances
    – Special measures where there are vulnerable, young, elderly or disabled persons
    – Fire safety training for designated staff

  • When to call the experts

    Technically, a fire safety assessment can be carried by the ‘responsible person’ within a business, without the help of an expert. However, it’s worth considering that should a fire occur and injure or kill anyone within the premises, then the ‘responsible person’ will have to account for what happened. This means potentially facing the consequences of any oversights or bad decisions. It’s worth keeping in mind that local fire and rescue services may be able to give their advice, but wont carry out a risk assessment for a business.

We’re independent fire alarm specialists with extensive knowledge of obsolescent & fibre networking systems. With over 20 years in the fire alarm industry, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive knowledge of fire alarm systems.

If you need some assistance with becoming fully compliant – please don’t hesitate to give us a call!
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S2 Fire Solutions explode into 2017 with high profile contracts!

Our Midlands based fire safety firm, S2 Fire Solutions, are celebrating what we hope to be bumper year for contracts, with some key projects under our belt so far!

As commercial fire alarm specialists, we’ve had a full order book throughout the start of 2017 – working on a variety of jobs up and down the country. Some of our latest contracts in the commercial sector were for the UK’s leading trampoline park, Oxygen FreeJumping which now has eight parks currently across the country and a high class Korean restaurant, Kimchee, at 2 St. Pancras, London.

S2 Fire Solutions worked on prestigious Kimchee in London at the start of 2017

Simon Millward, director here at S2 Fire Solutions said, “because of our extensive experience of working within the industry, we can claim the expertise to accommodate the many challenging demands in our specialist sector. We are constantly evolving and improving our systems, and aftercare programmes to cater for the every changing market place. What’s really important to us is that we do it all with personality – we think that’s really important in this industry”.

Our team work directly with clients and installers to give a complete service, and to mitigate any potential problems that can arise from different trades all working in the same vicinity.

Simon continues by saying, “Every project has its own unique needs and solutions. We love it – It means that every job is different. Things like tight time frames, very motivated project managers and more can all effect how the job goes. With our clients this year, the tight time frames and working on customer facing environments is very different to working on something like a factory install.  The project was achieved with careful planning and good communication between our engineers, the clients, and our office based staff. Now that the projects are complete, the sites are able to open, confident that their fire alarm system will provide the earliest possible warning to those within the building”.

Looking to the next period of 2017, S2 Fire Solutions are predicting that we will have a bumper year, from big clients through to small. With our stand-out personalities and extensive experience, we believe that we have the edge over other fire safety solution businesses.  We’re proud of our workforce, and are looking forward to what we hope will be a record year!

If you would like to find out more about S2 Fire Solutions, take a look at our services!

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Why historic buildings are at risk of burning down

When I came across this online, my face dropped. Alston Hall, a beautiful Grade II listed Victorian Gothic country mansion was transformed from this…

Historic buildings - Alston Hall before the blaze

(Photo credit: weddingvenues.com)

to this…

Historic buildings - Alston Hall after the blaze

(Photo credit: BBC News)

Over seventy fire fighters battled the blaze. The roof collapsed with the majority of the mansion damaged by the inferno. What’s heart wrenching is the interior was mostly original containing historic joinery, plasterwork, fireplaces and light fittings. According to Historic England, the listing was described as “a highly decorative property”.

You may think that historic buildings are more prone to fire than modern constructions. Yes historic material does not offer the same level of protection when compared with modern equivalents. However, according to a study carried out by the Institute of Fire Engineers, thousands of historic buildings across the UK are at risk of burning down due to owners blocking attempts to install unattractive fire prevention and detection equipment.

For example, Steve Emery from the institute who also is a fire advise for Historic England said owners are reluctant to install sprinklers because of concerns that it will increase the chances of the building flooding if the system malfunctions.

There are other issues to take into consideration when exploring why historic buildings have a greater risk of burning down. I had this to say:

“Although Alston Hall was owned by the local authority, maintenance of the fire alarm system would generally be the responsibility of a contractor employed by the local authority. It is the contractor’s duty to inform the owner if the system does not provide sufficient protection or does not comply with the current standard. Sometimes, recommendations aren’t implemented due to budgeting issues or miscommunication from the contractor.”

Alston Hall was undergoing renovations at the time of the fire. We are unsure if this was a direct cause of the blaze. But what happens after the ash stops smouldering and the owners look to their insurance policy? All those historic features will be extremely expensive to replicate requiring the work of highly skilled craftsmen, For example, sourcing similar coloured and textured bricks is a challenge in its own right.

I wish the owners all the best for the restoration project. If you own or manage a historic building and are reviewing your fire alarm system, please visit our page the following page where you will find a thorough collection of information to help you during your review process.

Helen Jackson

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