Your fire safety responsibilities as a commercial property owner
Fire safety is a hugely important aspect of any type of building, whether it's a residential property or a commercial property.
When it comes to commercial properties like hotels, hostels, nursing homes and so on, it's common for guests and occupiers to simply trust that a building is up to scratch with current fire rules and regulations.
That's where you come in as the resident's owner, employer or landlord! After all, it's your responsibility to ensure that your building is fully compliant to health and safety regulations, including fire safety, to guarantee the protection of those in it and around it.
Fire protection and prevention
More and more commercial property owners are found to be breaching fire safety rules and regulations, but what is it that you have to do to stay on the right side of the law, and keep the building and its occupants safe at all times?
Firstly, there are certain features and requirements that should be incorporated into the design of a building to optimise the safety of those in it. This includes things like a fire escapes, fire-proof doors and easy access to fire extinguishers.
Then there are the added precautions that you should employ in the maintenance and the management of the building that are equally important when it comes to safety in the event of a fire. These elements come together to ensure the wellbeing of the building and its occupants at all times.
What you need to do
When you are an employer, manager, owner of premises providing sleeping accommodation, you will understand how important it is to have clear safety measures in place to provide your guests or occupants with a high level of safety as well as a reliability that they can depend on. There are a number of things you need to consider for your property, including:
It's critical for you to know your property inside out. To help prevent a fire, you need to be able to spot any potential dangers or risks around the property. With the right level of knowledge as well as regular fire-risk assessments, you should be able to establish how a fire could start; the potential sources of ignition and any items that could initiate a fire, for example.
People at risk:
Whatever your commercial property is used for, whether it be an office business or a nursing home, there will be people at risk in the event of the fire. You need to ensure that efficient safety measures are in place and are suitable for every one of these people to use. The safety measures should also be made as clear as possible to both guests and staff to aid a swift and easy exit for everyone if necessary.
Reducing the risks:
By establishing potential hazards, you can avoid them becoming a real danger. This can be done by simply removing them or putting protective accessories or preventative materials in place. Regular checks should be made to minimise the risks and to optimise your safety measures. This can be a daily task of making sure that the emergency exit routes are clear at all times, or a weekly task of testing the alarms to ensure they are working properly. More thorough and technical checks should be made on a six-monthly or annual basis as mentioned below.
Fires can happen unexpectedly. Even though you think that you have absolutely everything covered, accidents do happen, which is why it's so important to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Your building and your staff should be well equipped to deal a fire quickly and efficiently, and well equipped to make the plan clear to residents or guests when required to operate a quick evacuation from the premises.
This also means that escape routes need to be up to standards at all times to meet the need for a swift and easy exit in the event of a fire. That means clear signing and notices, efficient emergency lighting, and fire-resistant features to help prevent the fire from spreading and to keep people out of danger.
Every member of staff should be fully trained in fire safety so that they have the knowledge and the skills to deal with an emergency at any point. They must have a basic understanding of fire (the types of fire, different extinguishing agents, etc) as well as the correct emergency procedures. These procedures include everything from what to do when discovering the fire and how to raise the alarm, to hearing the alarm and what follows. This training can be done through workshops and effectively tested by frequent fire drills.
As previously mentioned, incorporating regular checks in to your daily and weekly work routines can help minimise the risks of a fire happening. It's also essential to have a competent service engineer to come and perform a risk assessment on a six-monthly or annual basis to ensure that everything complies with current fire safety rules and regulations, and to attain a fire inspection certificate for your property.
Professional maintenance checks will make sure that everything is in check and working functionally, and that your building is properly protected. On top of improving the efficiency and safety of your property as well as giving you peace of mind, with Ged Chutes, any maintenance problems found on the day will be repaired, giving you one less thing to worry about.
If you would like to hear more about our fire inspection services, or any of our other services, please don't hesitate to get in touch - we look forward to hearing from you!