Fire Alarms… Do I Need One?

The decision process to decide if you require an Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System. New fire safety rules affecting all non-domestic premises in England and Wales come into force on 1 October 2006. If you are: responsible for business premises as:

  • An employer
  • Self-employed with business premises
  • A charity or voluntary organisation
  • A contractor with a degree of control over any premises

…then you will be affected by the new Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which affects:

  • Offices and shops
  • Factories and Warehouses
  • Sleeping Accommodation
  • Residential Care Premises
  • Educational Premises
  • Small, Medium and Large places of assembly
  • Theatres and Cinemas
  • Outdoor events
  • Healthcare Premises
  • Transport Premises and Facilities

Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems are governed by a Code of Practice for Design, installation and maintenance known as BS5839 2002. This Code of Practice comprehensively governs such systems and if followed is accepted as current good practice.

The decision as to the requirement of such a system is arrived at via the ‘risk assessment’ process and Legislative Requirements and the risk Assessment should involve thought being given to:

  1. Identifying the potential hazards of the workplace.
  2. Decide who (employees, visitors might be at risk from any fire or during escape from the premises.
  3. Evaluate the risks arising from hazards and decide whether existing precautions are adequate or more should be done to negate the hazards or mange the risks.
  4. Record the findings and details of action taken.
  5. Review the risk assessment and revise as and when necessary.

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