"Fire is but one of a spectrum of risks faced by businesses and the community today. We aim to work in partnership with communities to ensure resilience. The management of fire risk and the development of business continuity plans can add value to our communities" - Surrey Fire and Rescue Service
The management of fire risk is a key component in the production of a business continuity plan. Both seek to improve the organisation's resilience.
The structure of the plan will depend on the nature of the business or organisation and will need to be tailored accordingly. Key steps to building the plan are:
The Business Continuity Plan pulls together the response of the whole organisation to a disruptive incident. Those using the plan should be able to analyse information concerning the impact of the incident, select and deploy appropriate resources from those available in the plan and direct the resumption of business units according to agreed priorities.
Building-in business continuity, making it part of the way that you run your business, rather than having to 'firefight' any emergency, helps prepare you to offer 'business as usual' in the quickest possible time. The benefits of BCM include:
'Business Continuity affects everyone: customers, staff, the community and ultimately the economy'
Nearly 1 in 5 businesses suffer a major disruption every year. 80% of businesses affected by a major incident close within a month. Since 2000 there has been a 24% increase in the total cost of fire in the UK to £7.7bn. The cost of arson has increased by 32% to £2.9bn. The management of fire risk not only ensures compliance with legislation but linked to business continuity planning contributes to the overall resilience of the business.
Health and safety law applies to all businesses, the self-employed and employees. By adopting a framework to manage health and safety organisations can seek to comply with the law and protect their assets through the adoption of a risk management strategy. Businesses are also required to specifically assess and manage the risk from fire.
Failure to comply with the legislation may lead to enforcement action by the appropriate authority/agency. In addition the existence of a Civil Contingencies Act, and accompanying non-legislative measures, aims to deliver a single framework for civil protection in the UK, dealing with major incidents and improving contact between agencies and (local) government.
The average cost of a fire in a commercial building is £58,100. Fire prevention is key to a safe working environment. Once you have completed a fire risk assessment and possible dangers have been identified you must minimize them immediately. Failure to do so could result in prosecution or worse; a fire could destroy your business.
The Association of British Insurers estimate that arson costs insurers in excess of £1million per day, and uninsured losses could increase this to over 500 million annually. Part of the prevention process should address the risk posed by arson to the business. By working in partnership with stakeholders like the Police and Fire Authority, this risk can be reduced.
Every week 20 schools are damaged or destroyed by arson at a cost of £60 million. Over 60% of school fires are started deliberately. Any package of measures has to include fire protection, deterring trespass on sites and the prevention of illegal entry into buildings.
Every false alarm causes disruption. This may affect your customer service, your productivity or the general routine of your organisation. The cost of false alarms in the UK is estimated to be about £1 billion a year. Reducing false alarms will save you and the fire and rescue service money, will reduce wasted efforts and may save lives.
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service believes that fire sprinklers have a key role to play in building a sustainable 'Fire Safe Surrey' for the future. Sprinkler systems prevent fires from causing major damage and help minimise disruption to businesses.
From 1 October 2006, fire safety legislation was reformed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. It covers 'general fire precautions' and other fire safety duties, which are needed to protect 'relevant persons' in case of fire in and around most 'premises'. Responsibility for complying with the Fire Safety Order rests with the 'responsible person'. If you are the responsible person you must carry out a fire risk assessment. Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take to protect people against the fire risks that remain. If you employ five or more people you must record the significant findings of the assessment.
For the latest guidance on regulations that apply to your business, visit the Gov.uk website.