Fire Decisions Limited
Specialising in all aspects of fire safety related issues
The company provides a range of specialist fire safety advice to employers and building owners to assist them in carrying out fire safety risk assessments and fullfiling their legal duties.
For more information on each of these services click on the links below.
We can carry out a fire risk assessment following the criteria in PAS 79 and the HM Government guide relevant to your premises.
More detailed information on the Legislation is available on our Fire Safety Legislation page.
With regard to the Fire Safety Risk Assessment, under article 9 (1) of the Fire Safety Order the person, known as “the responsible person, are required to:
"9. (1) The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessments of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions ..."
You can see a copy of article 9 of the Order here.
The findings of the risk assessment, including the significant findings, measures taken, or to be taken, must be recorded where:
This is detailed in article 9 (6) and (7) of the Order.
9 (6) As soon as practicable after the assessment is made or reviewed, the responsible person must record the information prescribed by paragraph (7) where:
(a) he employs five or more employees;
(b) a licence under an enactment is in force in relation to the premises; or
(c) an alterations notice requiring this is in force in relation to the premises.
9 (7) The prescribed information is:
(a) the significant findings of the assessment, including the measures which have been or will be taken by the responsible person pursuant to this Order; and
(b) any group of persons identified by the assessment as being especially at risk.
However, if the above does not apply, whilst you do not have to by law record your risk assessment, in the event of a fire, an insurance company might ask how else you carried out your assessment. Having a record of it will help you.
We carry out a fire safety risk assessment based on the BSI British Standards Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 79 Fire risk assessment. Guidance and a recommended methodology.
This gives a nine-step structured approach and corresponding documentation for carrying out and documenting significant findings of fire risk assessments.
The nine steps we look at are:
Step 1: Obtain information
Step 2: Identify the fire hazards and control measures
Step 3: Assess likelihood of fire
Step 4: Determine the fire protection measures
Step 5: Obtain information about fire safety management
Step 6: Assess the likely consequences to people in the event of fire
Step 7: Make an assessment of the fire risk
Step 8: Formulate and document an action plan
Step 9: Set a date for review
When we carry out a fire risk assessment, we will visit your premises, meet with you, and explain about the assessment. At the end of the visit and before we leave the building, we will highlight any major issues to you.
We will then go away and complete the fire risk assessment details, this will include recommendations and where necessary a plan of the premises, log book etc. You will get this in a hard copy as well as an electronic copy. We will then meet up with you and explain in detail the findings of the risk assessment and if need be, go back through the building to explain any issues highlighted. We remain available to provide assistance and advice after this meeting.
We use the published Government guides specific to your premises to benchmark your premises against the required standard. You can view a copy of the relevant Government guide for your premises here.
Our pricing structure reflects the size of your building and the work involved. As a small professional company that does not sub contract out the work, we can keep our overheads low, which is reflected in the price.
We can write fire safety strategies specific to your premises in accordance with PAS 911.
A Fire Safety Strategy is a document detailing the key areas relating to fire for your building or organisation and how the risk of fire will be managed.
Whilst it is based on your fire safety risk assessment, it is more detailed than this.
It is made up of a number of components, including sub-strategies, these include:
a) The fire strategy statement, providing an overview and the basis for the strategy
b) The fire safety (management) strategy
c) The evacuation strategy
d) The firefighting strategy
e) The fire and smoke control strategy
f) The fire protection strategy
Factors that you should consider as to whether or not you need to prepare an explicit fire strategy include:
Is the building "non standard" design, e.g. does it fully comply with current building regulations?
Is the building layout such that it may not be easily understood by its occupants
Are there any circumstances where the application of management systems and procedures could be open to misinterpretation?
Is the relationship between fire safety management and other building functions unclear?
If the answer to any of these is yes, then you should consider developing a fire strategy. Please contact us if you require assistance in this.
Even if you decide that you do not need a fire safety strategy, you are still required under article 11 of the Fire Safety Order to have fire safety arrangement in place for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventative and protective measures.
In addition, under article 15 of the Fire Safety Order, you must have procedures for serious and imminent danger, i.e. some form of plan of what to do in the event of a fire.
Again if you need assistance in this, please contact us.
You can view a copy of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order here.
We carry out a fire strategies based on the BSI British Standards Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 911 Fire Strategies - guidance and framework for their formulation.
We can assist you in writing your fire risk management systems, specific to your organisation/premises in accordance with PAS 7. We can also assist you in auditing and reviewing your existing systems.
Your fire risk managemet system, is about how you implement and manage the key areas relating to fire for your building or organisation.
A common factor in many prosecutions is the lack of fire safety management, which can be seen as organisational failures.
The Inquiry into the Rosepark care home fire, which resulted in the deaths of 14 residents in 2004, concluded:
“The deficiencies in the management of fire safety at Rosepark contributed to the deaths in that a number of key circumstances would have been quite different if there had been an adequate system of fire safety management”.
Article 11 of the Regulatory Reform Fire (Safety Order) Requires the responsible person to consider the arrangements for fire safety, given the size and nature of its activities, this should include the arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.
You can view a copy of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order here
We review and record your fire risk management systems against the bench mark standard detailed in the Britich Standards Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 7 Fire risk management systems.
We can assist with the preparation of risk assessments dealing with the general fire precautions issues and depending on the type and quantity stored/used, we can also advise on some aspects of process fire safety.
If you have a licence to store fireworks or other explosives, either issued by the Local Authority or the Health & Safety Executive, then you have some additional responsibilities.
Firstly, your premises or site will be subject to two separate enforcing bodies with regard to fire safety. With regard to General Fire Precautions, the fire service will enforce these requirements under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. This will include areas such as means of escape, means for raising the alarm etc.
Because a Licence is in force for the premises you must have recorded the significant findings of your fire risk assessment.
Also because dangerous substances are present, the order, under article 16, details the additional emergency measures you must take.
You can view a copy of article 16 of the Fire Safety Order here.
Process Fire Safety is enforced by the Authority that issued the explosives licence, such as Trading Standards or the HSE. They will look at the fire safety processes around how you store and use the explosives.
As an example between the two, if you have a shipping container which is used for general storage of boxes etc. (not explosives and not licensed) then you may have some wooden shelves. The design of those shelves would not normally form part of the risk assessment.
If that same container was then licensed and used for the storage of explosives, such as fireworks, then the design of the shelves is relevant. For example any metal screw heads on the shelves would have to be countersunk and filled. This is because they present an ignition risk through friction, if any explosive material was spilt. This is a Process Fire Safety Issue.
The Health and Safety Executive have produced guidance for the storage of explosives, you can view a copy of the guidance on their website here.
You can view a copy of the Explosives Regulations 2014 here.
If you store or sell fireworks, then there are some additional considerations. Guidance is available as to what a suitable container is for storing fireworks in retail premises. Are yours compliant?
You will be licensed for the storage of fireworks in accordance with the Hazard Type. Whilst there is a correlation to the Hazard Division as printed on the transport box, this is only applicable when fireworks are kept in these boxes. Take them out of the boxes and leave on the shelf, or move to a different box and you may change their Hazard Division. See paragraph 34 of L150.
Do you have a system in place to make staff aware and control this?
If you are unsure of any of the above, please contact us.
We have extensive experience of dealing with fire safety at explosives sites, especially with regard to fireworks. For more information see biography.
We can assist in the preparation of risk assessments dealing with the general fire precautions and depending on the quantity and type of explosives, we can also cover the process fire safety issues.
If you have been informed by the Fire Service that you are due an audit, we can assist you in ensuring your premises is to the required standard.
The Fire & Rescue Service has a duty to enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order within its area. One of the ways that it does this, is by carrying out audits on premises.
The purpose of the audit is to check compliance against the legal duties under the Order.
If you have been informed by the Fire & Rescue Service that a Fire Safety Audit is going to take place on your premises, you will normally be given a number of weeks' notice, unless it is in response to a complaint, when an urgent inspection may take place.
During the audit, the Inspecting Officers are likely to request to see the following documents:
i. A copy of the fire risk assessment.
ii. Any action plans related to any significant findings of the fire risk assessment.
iii. Emergency plans for the premises (what to do in the event of a fire).
iv. Records of staff training and fire drills.
v. Records of testing and maintenance for the fire alarm system.
vi. Records of testing and maintenance for the emergency lighting.
vii. Records of testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment (e.g. extinguishers).
Following the audit, if there are no issues, you will be told so. If minor contraventions are found, these will be brought to your attention and a follow up visit may take place. For more serious issues and enforcement notice, which is a legal notice, may be served on the responsible person. It is a criminal offence, not to comply with this notice. A follow up visit to check that all the work detailed in the notice has been completed will take place.
For the most serious contraventions, the Fire & Rescue Service can bring a prosecution, this can result in a heavy fine and even jail.
If you have been informed by the Fire & Rescue Service that a fire safety audit is going to take place on your premises, we can help you prepare for this.
We will visit your premises, go through the documents that you are likely to need to show during the audit, and highlight any problems so that these can be addressed ahead of the visit. Examples might include: emergency lighting out of test, missing staff training records.
Then we will carry out an inspection of your premises, checking that the Fire Protection measures are present and in good order, such as fire doors working properly and not wedged open, fire exits in good order and not obstructed, no obstruction of escape routes and that other provisions such as fire alarms and emergency lights are working correctly.
As we have already said, your premises should already be at the required standard. However, according to the latest statistics for the Fire Service Of the 58,827 fire safety audits carried out 19,176 were deemed unsatisfactory. This is nearly 1 in 3 inspections.
If a notice is issued to a premises where persons are employed, then it is normal practice to serve a copy of the notice on the Company Secretary as well.
The Environment and Safety Information Act 1988 requires the establishment of public registers of certain notices served concerning health, safety, environmental protection and related issues. As a result, your local Fire Authority will maintain a public register of notices served, this will include any enforcement notice served on you and will be kept on the public register for at least 3 years.
As well as a local register, a copy is also kept on a fire service national database. To look at all notices served click here.
If you have received an inspection and deficiencies have been highlighted, we can assist you in ensuring compliance.
If you have been subject to a visit by the Fire & Rescue Service and that has resulted in unsatisfactory inspection we can help you with post inspection assistance.
We can advise on a number of matters, such as:
If you are notified that formal action may take place and you are going to be interviewed in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, we can work with your legal advisors as to what action to take.
Please contact us to discus any case in confidence.
We can assist you in the investigation of the causes of a fire or other accident. We can also review your risk assessment to avoid repetition.
The basis of the fire risk assessment is to assess the risk of a fire starting and apply preventative measures. The fact that you have had a fire means you need to review your risk assessment. We can help you by providing incident investigation.
There is an implied duty to do this under article 9 (3)a of the order.
9.- (3) Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if:
(a) there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid
You can view a copy of the Fire Safety Order here.
We can assist and carryout a post fire review of your risk assessment and update where necessary.
We can attend your fire scene, as well as investigating the cause, we can also assist in detailing the learning points from the incident and reviewing your staff procedures and business continuity plan.
It is a sad fact that, according to the Arson Prevention Forum (A non profit making organisation funded by the insurance companies) "it is estimated that up to 80% of businesses never fully recover following a serious fire."
Details on this disturbing fact and more information about arson is available here Arson Prevention Forum FAQ - I have no enemies.
With experience of investigating accidents and as the lead accident investigator into a double fire-fighter fatality at an incident, we can assist you with most aspects of accident investigation.
Please note we do not deal with vehicle accident investigations.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 5, requires employers to plan, organise, control, monitor and review their health and safety arrangements. Health and safety investigations form an essential part of this process.
You can view the Management of Health and Safety etc. here.
Following the Woolf Report on civil action, you are expected to make full disclosure of the circumstances of an accident to the injured parties considering legal action. The fear of litigation may make you think it is better not to investigate, but you can’t make things better if you don’t know what went wrong!
The fact that you thoroughly investigated an accident and took remedial action to prevent further accidents would demonstrate to a court that your company has a positive attitude to health and safety. Your investigation findings will also provide essential information for your insurers in the event of a claim.
In investigating an accident, we follow the guidance detailed in the HSE Guidance HSG 245 - Investigating Accidents and Incidents.
We also use the STEP (Sequential Timed Events Plotting) process to establish the timeline for the accident, to really understand what happened, so that we can establish why the accident occurred and what the underlying causes were.
For more details on our experience please see the home page.
We can work with designers and planners with all aspects of fire safety, especially with regards to Building Regulations Part B and fire service access issues.
With the background in Fire Safety and the application of the relevant building codes, we can work with designers to assist in overcoming fire safety issues at the building design stage.
We can also assist in access issues either within the site in accordance with B5 of the Building Regulations or to the site under any local enactment.
It is a requirement under Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations that "Where building work involves the erection or extension of a relevant building, or a relevant change of use of a building, fire safety information shall be given to the responsible person at the completion of the project or when the building or extension is first occupied".
Appendix G of Approved Document B outlines this position and gives more information.
To view a copy of Approved Document B please click here.
We can assist in all aspects of the production of this information.
Fire Decisions Limited
6 Eridge Drive • Crowborough • East Sussex • TN6 2TJ
Company Registration Number: 9175134
Fire & Accident Investigation • Fire Safety Risk Assessments • Fire Safety Strategies • Fire Risk Management • Fireworks/Explosive Storage Advice • Pre Inspection Visits • Post Inspection Assistance • Incident Investigation • Building Design Issues
Hampshire • Kent • London • Surrey • Sussex • UK and International