What general fire safety precautions should I take?

The general saftey precautions that should be taken to be compliant with fire safety regulations

Contents

The general fire precautions you may need to take should include the following.

A fire-detection and warning system

You must have a suitable fire-detection and warning system. This can range from a shouted warning to an electrical detection and warning system

Whatever system you have, it must be able to warn people in all circumstances.

A way of fighting a small fire

It may be acceptable to have multi-purpose fire extinguishers with a guaranteed shelf life.

As a rule of thumb, you should have one extinguisher for every 200 metres squared of floor space with at least one on each floor.

Safe routes for people to leave the premises

The ideal situation is when there is more than one escape route from all parts of the premises, although this is not always possible.

If only one route is available, you may need to make it fire resisting (protected) or install an automatic fire-detection system.

Emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a safe area beyond the relevant premises

In the event of danger from fire, it must be possible for persons to evacuate the relevant premises as quickly and as safely as possible.

The number, distribution and dimensions of emergency routes and exits must be adequate having regard to the use of, equipment contained in, and the dimensions of the relevant premises and the maximum number of persons who may be present there at any one time.

Doors on the emergency route shall open in the direction of escape

Sliding or revolving doors must not be used for exits specifically intended as emergency exits.

Doors on the emergency route must not be so locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency.

Suitable fire exit doors

You should be able to use fire exit doors and any doors on the escape routes without a key and without any specialist knowledge.

In premises used by the public or large numbers of people, you may need push (panic) bars or push pads.

Emergency routes and exits must be indicated by signs

Emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.

High-risk rooms should not generally open directly into a fire-protected stairway

If your fire-risk assessment shows that people using any floor would not be aware of a fire, you may need other fire-protection measures, for example, an automatic fire-detection and warning system.

Other things to consider

• Whether you need emergency lighting

• Suitable fire-safety signs in all but the smallest premises

• Training for your staff or anyone else you may reasonably expect to help in a fire

• A management system to make sure that you maintain your fire safety systems

You should follow the above guidelines with caution. You must look at each part of the premises and decide how quickly people would react to a warning of fire. If you are in any doubt or your premises provide care or sleeping facilities, you should read the more detailed guidance published by the Government or get expert advice. Some factories and warehouses can have longer distances to travel to escape the fire.