Assess the risk and act
09 April 2019
A FIRE risk assessment is the cornerstone of your business, Kathryn Turner from Keoghs Solicitors explained to delegates in the keynote theatre at the Fire Safety Event.
Highlighting the importance of this she said, “All businesses must have a fire risk assessment, and it must be reviewed regularly. It needs to be documented if you have more than five employees.”
In 2017/18 there were 334 fire related fatalities and 7.290 non-fatal casualties since 2016/17. 76% of fire-related fatalities in 2017/18 occurred in single occupancy dwellings – including 71 fire related fatalities from the Grenfell Tower fire.
Using the Grenfell Tower fire as a case study, Kathryn outlined the details of the building. The 25-storey residential block contained 120 homes. The Tower was built in the 70s and in recent years it had undergone a number of refurbishment activities – including fire door replacements, installation of external cladding and gas supply refurbishment.
There have been several defects and deficiencies that have come to light since the fire, including no-working fire alarm system, inappropriate emergency evacuation plan and external cladding that spread the fire.
“Nearly every property requires a fire detection system, and all occupants must be able to turn their back on the fire and escape,” Kathryn points out.
The fire assessment needs to identify hazards, identify those at significant risk, evaluate risks, record the findings and action plan and review and revise the risk assessment accordingly.
“Buildings vary greatly in design and purpose,” she notes.
So we must ensure we have the correct detection measures and fire-fighting equipment for each building.