Fire Risk Assessment explained
As the responsible person you must carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises. This will identify what you need to do to prevent fire and keep people safe.
You must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has 5 or more people.
Carrying out the assessment
Identify the fire hazards.
Identify people at risk.
Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.
The fire safety risk assessment chart gives more detailed information about these steps.
You’ll need to consider:
- emergency routes and exits
- fire detection and warning systems
- fire fighting equipment
- the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
- an emergency fire evacuation plan
- the needs of vulnerable people, eg the elderly, young children or those with disabilities
- providing information to employees and other people on the premises
- staff fire safety training
Read the government’s guidance on:
- making your premises safe
- having paying guests (eg bed and breakfast or self-catering accommodation owners)
- fire escape facilities for disabled people
- how to make detailed risk assessment documents for different types of premises
- fire safety in purpose-built flats and other types of housing
Fire safety risk assessment guides
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have separate guidance about carrying out risk assessments if you work in construction.
You can download the following guides on fire safety risk assessments in:
- offices and shops
- factories and warehouses
- sleeping accommodation
- residential care premises
- educational premises
- small and medium places of assembly (holding 300 people or less)
- large places of assembly (holding more than 300 people)
- theatres, cinemas and similar premises
- open air events and venues
- healthcare premises
- animal premises and stables
- transport premises and facilities
Fire safety and evacuation plans
Your plan must show how you have:
- a clear passageway to all escape routes
- clearly marked escape routes that are as short and direct as possible
- enough exits and routes for all people to escape
- emergency doors that open easily
- emergency lighting where needed
- training for all employees to know and use the escape routes
- a safe meeting point for staff
People with mobility needs
You should also make special arrangements for people with mobility needs, eg make sure there are people to help wheelchair users get downstairs if there’s a fire.
Fire safety equipment, drills and training
Fire detection and warning systems
You must have a fire detection and warning system. You may need different types of detectors, depending on the type of building and the work carried out in it.
Fire fighting equipment
The types of equipment you need depend on your business premises. You’ll need to have any equipment properly installed, tested and maintained and train your staff to use them if necessary.
Maintenance and testing
You must carry out regular checks to make sure that:
- all fire alarm systems are working
- the emergency lighting is working
- you record any faults in systems and equipment
- all escape routes are clear and the floor is in good condition
- all fire escapes can be opened easily
- automatic fire doors close correctly
- fire exit signs are in the right place
Fire drills and training
You need to train new staff when they start work and tell all employees about any new fire risks.
You should carry out at least one fire drill per year and record the results. You must keep the results as part of your fire safety and evacuation plan.