Business fire safety check

When you carry out an assessment of the possible risks of fire in your business premises, it's important to consider the risk from ignition sources and combustible materials.

It is also just as important to consider the risks posed by the building itself.

Factors to consider

  • How your building is constructed
  • Your buildings internal layout
  • Are there areas where fire could spread unseen and unchecked such as voids and poor fire separation between floors?
  • The number and size of means of escape
  • Are there any areas where someone would not know there is a fire in sufficient time to escape safely?
  • Who will occupy or visit the building and will they know what to do and where to go in the event of a fire?
  • Do employees or visitors know what their responsibilities are to prevent fire?
  • Is the evacuation strategy you currently have in place suitable?

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Guides and checklists

The 'Making your premises safe from fire' guide and the following checklists can be help you to determine and maintain fire precautions on your premises:

More advice and information to help you meet the legislation requirements is available in the Responsibility for fire safety area. You can also contact our Business Fire Safety Officers for assistance.

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Evacuation Strategies

Delayed Evacuation (Stay Put)

In most cases, this evacuation strategy is used in blocks of flats. Each flat will have been designed to prevent fire spread to another flat/compartment. It is reliant on the design and maintenance of the building allowing those occupants of flats not affected by heat, fire or smoke to stay in their flats.

Simultaneous Evacuation

When a fire is detected and warning given, all occupants of the building exit the building simultaneously.

Staged Evacuation

This strategy relies on an appropriate automatic fire detection and warning system. Occupants of the affected floor/designated area or compartment, as well as those on designated neighbouring floors/areas or compartments, evacuate simultaneously.

Occupants elsewhere in the building will be given a pre-warning, alerting them of a potential evacuation taking place. Depending on fire development, the size, and the design of the building, the staging of further evacuation may continue.

A staged evacuation strategy can help to keep stairwells free-moving, giving time for those occupants already on the stairs to clear before further occupants enter the stairwell.

Progressive Horizontal or Vertical Evacuation

This strategy is often used where occupants require assistance to evacuate, such as in the case of hospitals and some care homes.

Again, this relies on the design of the building to have sufficient fire resisting structures (floors, walls, doors, ceilings), to allow occupants of that part of the building to move temporarily to an unaffected area. This unaffected area should have at least two fire doors separating it from the fire.

This strategy is only possible if this progressing movement of occupants is towards a means of escape (stairwell, purpose-built evacuation lift, final exit door).

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Employing a professional assessor

If you'd prefer a professional fire risk assessor to undertake your assessment and to record the required information, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Fire Safety Risk Assessment Guidance can help you to select an assessor.

The Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE) also provide a searchable list of approved fire risk assessors. Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has no affiliation with members of this register.

If you need any further advice, contact us.

Files available to download