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Step 4: Record, plan, inform, instruct and train

Step 4: Record, plan, inform, instruct and train

Keep a record

If you employ 5 or more employees, or if you have licensed premises, you must have a record of your fire risk assessment.

Even if you don't employ 5 or more employees, it's still a good idea to keep a record of this, should authorities ever need to investigate.

You must record details of:

  • The fire hazards you've identified
  • The preventive measures you've taken or will take to remove or reduce the chance of a fire
  • People who may be at risk
  • The protective measures you've taken or will take to reduce the risk to people from the spread of fire and smoke

You may also wish to record discussions you've had with staff or staff representatives, such as trade unions.

Emergency plan

An emergency plan ensures that your workforce knows what to do if there is a fire and that they know how to evacuate safely. It should be available for your workforce, their representatives and an enforcing authority.

In small businesses, the emergency plan may be just a fire action notice. In large or multi-occupied businesses, you may need to develop the emergency plan after you've consulted with other occupiers and other people who have control over the building, such as the owners. It's likely that you'll need a single emergency plan covering the whole building.

Inform and instruct

You must inform and instruct all of your employees on how to prevent fires. You must also tell them what they should do if there is a fire. If you have other people working in your premises, such as agency workers or work experience children, these instructions and information should be given to the appropriate person, such as their employer or their parents, respectively.

The information should be in a form that can be used and understood. Take into account individuals with disabilities, such as sight impairment or learning difficulties.

You must ensure that you provide the following information:

  • The significant findings from the fire risk assessment
  • The preventive measures you've implemented to reduce the risks
  • What individuals should do if there is a fire (based on the emergency plan)
  • The identity of those responsible for fire safety
  • Any other special arrangements

Cooperate and coordinate

You must also cooperate and coordinate with those who are responsible for fire safety in multi-occupational buildings. It's unlikely that your emergency plan will work without this.

Employees also have a responsibility to cooperate to help you comply with any legal duty.

Fire safety training

You must provide adequate fire safety training for your staff. The type of training will depend on the features of your premises and you must consider the activities that take place in the workplace.

You must train your employees during normal working hours. You should repeat the training regularly (where appropriate) and test it through fire drills. It should also be easily understandable.

What the training should include

The training should be broadly categorised as follows:

  • What to do if a fire is discovered
    • How to raise the alarm and what happens after
    • The arrangements for calling the emergency services
    • What to do when the fire alarm goes off
  • How to stop or prevent the spread of a fire
    • Where and how to use the fire-fighting equipment
    • How to stop machines and processes, and isolate power supplies
  • Evacuation procedures
    • The procedures for alerting the public and any visitors, including directing them to exits if necessary
    • The location of escape routes, particularly those not in regular use
    • How to open all emergency exit doors
    • The evacuation procedures for everyone in your premises to reach a safe assembly point
  • What not to do and basic fire prevention education
    • The reason for keeping fire doors closed and for not using lifts (except those specifically installed for the evacuation of people with a disability)
    • The safe use of and risks from storing or working with flammable and explosive substances
    • The importance of general fire safety, including good housekeeping

You should give anyone who has a supervisory role in your emergency plan details of your fire risk assessment and additional training.

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