The need to help ensure the highest standards of fire safety at any premises for which you are responsible should be obvious; you have financial, legal, and moral reasons to take this aspect of the management of your site seriously.
If, for instance, you own, manage, or operate business premises, you will need to know about the relevant fire safety law. The main such legislation is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005; also often referred to as “the Fire Safety Order”, it applies to nearly all buildings, places and structures – except individual private homes – in England and Wales.
So, how does a fire safety management system relate to all this? The short answer is that there are extensive duties imposed by the Fire Safety Order, or RRFSO, that are only effectively achievable through the creation and implementation of a comprehensive fire safety management system.
What is the purpose of fire safety management?
As the term suggests, fire safety management is all about putting in place the arrangements to help protect both people and property from fire. This encompasses not only helping to prevent a fire from breaking out in the first place, but also helping to shield people from harm in the event that a fire does occur.
What are the key elements of a fire safety management system?
An effective fire safety management system will account for all the following elements when it comes to the fire safety measures implemented at a given property:
- Planning. It is always important to have a plan, and this element of your fire safety management is likely to encompass how the ‘responsible person’ intends to undertake the fire safety risk assessment, and how they will decide on the priorities with regard to risk reduction and the elimination of hazards.
- Organisation. This aspect of your fire safety management system will focus on the structure of your organisation. It might take into account such matters as the fire risk assessment, how health and safety information will be communicated to on-site workers, and who will decide on the right preventative and protective fire safety measures to take.
- Control. Who are the people, at all levels of your organisation, who are likely to be responsible for undertaking fire safety measures throughout your premises? This element concerns crucial control measures, such as the clarification of health, safety, and fire safety responsibilities, and making sure those who have been assigned such responsibilities actually understand them. It is also vital to set specific and measurable standards for judging performance, and to ensure adequate supervision.
- Monitoring. How will the responsible person measure the fire safety management system’s effectiveness? This can be done by ensuring fire precautions are regularly checked, and that any incidents are thoroughly investigated. Other relevant information should also be recorded.
- Review. Do you have a regular review process in place to scrutinise any identified deficiencies and ensure they are dealt with? This element of your fire safety management plan should encompass mechanisms for ensuring remedial work is actually undertaken, and a system for ensuring the prioritisation and completion of any remedial work not yet done.
- A fire emergency plan. What about if the worst occurs, in the shape of a fire actually breaking out? For this reason, you need to have an emergency plan in place, so that everyone using the property knows what to immediately do in the event of a fire. The number one priority in this situation will – of course – be ensuring everyone at the premises can be safely evacuated.
What are the stages of implementing a fire safety management system?
Putting in place a fire safety management system that works will necessitate taking the following steps:
1. Plan out and establish the objectives and requirements to deliver results
What are the objectives you have for your fire safety management system? The chances are that they will include such things as ensuring the safety of life, protecting your property, and ensuring business continuity.
Whatever specific objectives you set, you will need to ensure these are consistent with your fire safety policy, measurable, monitored, communicated, and regularly updated.
This stage will also entail planning precisely how to achieve your objectives. As part of this, you should be documenting not only what needs to be done, but also what resources will be required, who will be responsible, and the expected date for completion for this. There will also need to be arrangements for evaluating the results.
2. Organise and implement the process
This is the ‘doing’ stage, at which you should actually be implementing the plan, taking into account all the above. A key element of this will be making decisions in relation to the various preventative and protective measures that will be needed.
From ensuring all of your on-site staff are made aware of the fire policy, and risk-assessing all proposed works that fall under the fire safety management system’s scope, right through to arranging for frequent maintenance inspections and emergency planning, there is a lot that you will be doing at this stage.
3. Monitor and measure
You can’t just hope that you’re doing the right things with your fire safety management system; you also need a means of continuously measuring performance, so that you can be sure you’re doing enough, and that your actions comply with relevant legislation.
You might achieve this through various measures, including management reviews, internal audits, and/or external independent audits. However, you will also need to be specific about what needs to be monitored and measured, such as the incidence of false alarms, emergency evacuation drills, and the response to incidents.
4. Take action
By “take action”, we’re referring here to taking the actions needed in order to keep on improving your fire risk management performance. By this stage, you should be able to demonstrate that the suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of your fire safety management system have undergone continual optimisation and improvement.
Using software to implement, monitor and manage your fire safety compliance
When you wish to ensure all necessary measures are undertaken for continued fire safety compliance at premises for which you are responsible, you will almost certainly appreciate a solution that goes far beyond simply helping to make your fire risk assessments a little easier to manage.
Instead, the Vision Pro fire risk assessment software represents a genuinely complete platform for ensuring your fire safety management system ticks every essential box.
Call us today, and we will be pleased to advise you further on the full set of features of this sophisticated, informative, and up-to-date software, and to give you the benefit of a demo.