Do you have guidance on preparing a fire safety plan?
Do you have guidance on preparing a fire safety plan for our block of flats, and/or suggest where I can get an example of one?
The FPRA replies:
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 sets out the legal obligations for fire safety planning. It requires that a ‘responsible person’ or persons undertake responsibility for fire safety in the communal parts of the premises. This person/s is likely to be the managing agent of your block.
The responsible person/s MUST carry out a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) which should be done ideally by a specialist company or alternatively if they feel confident to carry out this duty your property manager could do this. The FRA must focus on the safety in case of fire of all ‘relevant persons’ including producing an ‘emergency’ plan and communicating it to the residents. In your case that will be residents and visitors to your building. New guidance was published last year and the link is below to assist with this.
It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as the disabled and those with special needs, and must include consideration of any dangerous substance likely to be on the premises. This can be done by locking store cupboards which contain such things as paint etc…
Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take to protect people against the fire risks that remain. If you employ five or more people you must record any significant findings of the assessment. I would however; strongly recommend records of any assessments that are made are kept for future reference.
When determining the ‘means of escape’ from your flats in the event of a fire you will also need to consider the lighting of the communal ways, emergency lighting may need to be installed if this has been raised as part of the risk assessment.
Where I Iive, the local Fire Service offer free fire safety checks for elderly and vulnerable groups which include a free smoke alarm and help preparing a plan for means of escape for the flat owner in the event of fire. It may be worth checking this out with your local fire service to see what services they can provide for your flats within the development.
I would suggest that you do not need to install fire extinguishers unless there is a trained person on site 24/7, as using them could be a risk for untrained flat-dwellers. Neither should you include battery smoke alarms in communal areas as these are not appropriate, although you may take a view that some early warning system is required which would need to be ‘hard-wired’. This would very much depend on the outcome of your risk assessment and is certainly not mandatory.
I was involved with a reference group on behalf of the FPRA that informed consultants on a new guidance for fire safety in purpose built blocks of flats
The guidance is available on the LG Group website via the web link below www.local.gov.uk/fire-safety-guidance or on our website.