Firstly, we want to thank you for your time and the information you provided us with during your recent business fire safety check (BFSC).

Following your check, you may have been given feedback on particular areas to consider for improvement.

The leaflet provided during the visit will indicate which areas we believe you would benefit from doing some further reading.

The information provided in this section relates to each question you were asked during your BFSC.

Lastly, we would appreciate your feedback on our visit and we have a created a survey that we would appreciate you spending five minutes to fill out. We will use your information to improve the service we provide in the future.

  • Q1. Has a fire risk assessment been prepared for this premises?

    A fire risk assessment is an organised and methodical look at your premises, the activities carried out within and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises. This must be carried out by the Responsible Person, or a competent person should be appointed to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of fire within the premises and to those, legally on and around the premises. This includes any staff, residents, and members of the public.

    The aim of carrying out a fire risk assessment is to remove/reduce the risk of hazards and to determine what safety measures are needed to ensure the safety of everyone in the building.  When carrying out the fire risk assessment you must:

    • Identify any fire hazards
    • Decide who could be harmed and how
    • Evaluate the risks and take action to control them
    • Record the findings
    • Review your risk assessment every year

    Remember, one size does not fit all – a fire risk assessment for residential, educational and healthcare premises will significantly differ to that for a shop and office.

    LFRS cannot conduct a risk assessment for you. If you feel that your premises is too complex, or that you would prefer to have advice from a professional, you can use the Institution of Fire Engineers Fire Risk Assessor Search.

    There are several premises type specific publications from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) relating to a specific premises’ use which you may find useful. The DCLG Guides can be downloaded from the government website (PDF), or you can purchase a copy from a good book shop or online.

  • Q2. Is the whole of the building just for commercial use (i.e., no sleeping risk)?

    Commercial and residential accommodation should be treated as two different uses.

    It should be considered that any person(s) sleeping within a premises can not only be alerted to a developing fire but can also evacuate the building safely.

    All escape routes and final exits from sleeping risk areas must not be through commercial premises or any areas of risk. All residential accommodation should be independent and have independent escape routes which lead to places of ultimate safety.

    If you wish to change or alter the use of your building to incorporate a sleeping element, then you must consult your local building authority as a change of use will be required.

  • Q3. If the premises has a fire alarm and/or emergency lighting is there evidence, it has it been tested and serviced in the last 12 months?

    Fire alarm systems are usually incorporated into buildings to protect life and/or property. The most appropriate system will depend on the type of building, the ease of egress in an emergency and the type of occupancy.

    Your fire-warning and/or detection system should be supervised by a named responsible person, and they should be provided enough authority and training to manage all aspects of the routine testing and scrutiny of the system. The control and indicating equipment should be checked at least every 24 hours to ensure there are no specific faults. All types of fire warning systems should be tested once a week. For electrical systems a manual call point should be activated (using a different call point for each successive test), usually by inserting a dedicated test key.

    This will check that the control equipment can receive a signal and in turn, activating the warning alarms. Manual call points may be numbered to ensure they are sequentially tested. Testing and maintenance of the system should be carried out by a competent person. It is good practice to test the alarm at the same time each week, but additional tests may be required to ensure that staff or people present outside normal working hours are given the opportunity to hear the alarm.

    Six-monthly servicing and preventive maintenance should be carried out by a competent person with specialist knowledge of fire-warning and automatic detection systems. This task is normally fulfilled by entering a service contract with a specialist fire alarm company. It is good practice to record all tests, false alarms and any maintenance carried out in a logbook.

    The fire alarm logbook is where all maintenance, tests and repairs can be recorded. It should always be kept on the premises, preferably near the fire control panel, and available for inspection by the FRS.

    It should include:

    • Dates and times of alarm activations including false and genuine activations
    • Dates, times and types of faults and what action was taken
    • Dates of tests carried out on the system
    • Dates of servicing
    • Dates and times of disconnection
    • Any alterations to the system

    All emergency lighting must be maintained and regularly tested in the same way as other emergency equipment. Each light should be identified and have a location identified for recordkeeping. A record log can then be kept of system tests, defects, any damage to the system and remedial action relating to each light. Most existing systems will need to be manually tested. However, some modern systems have self-testing facilities that reduce routine checks to a minimum.

    The monthly test can be carried out by the responsible person and is a short functional test which ensures the lamp switches on and illuminates correctly. All fittings should be free from damage and clean. The test should be done using the secure device key, commonly called a fish key due to its shape. Switching off the main power supply to the lighting circuit, can be hazardous and should be avoided. Further information can be found in BS EN 50172 and BS 5366-8 or, by consulting a competent person.

    Annual emergency lighting tests should be performed for the full duration of the emergency light (i.e., three hours). If the lamps do not last past the duration then they will fail the test and should be replaced. These tests will normally be performed by technicians during a fire alarm service, as this can be done while waiting for the lamps to complete the duration of test. Other considerations should include that the tests be performed during periods of lesser occupation.

  • Q4 Does the fire alarm panel indicate that the system is healthy and there are no faults?

    You may not have a fire alarm panel (FAP) in your premises if it is small and single storey.

    However, most business premises will have an electrically operated fire alarm and detection system which will incorporate a panel.

    • A healthy FAP is generally indicated by a green LED.
    • A FAP in fault, will generally show an amber light.
    • A FAP that has activated will show a red light.

    You should check your fire alarm panel daily to ensure that the panel is healthy. If your panel is not healthy you may need to obtain advice from a competent fire alarm engineer at the earliest opportunity.

  • Q5. Are the fire separating walls and ceilings adequate and free of significant holes and gaps (within commercial parts only not sleeping accommodation)?

    Any potential gaps or breaches in walls, floors and ceilings may allow for the passage of heat and/or smoke should a fire occur.

    Any walls or ceilings that adjoin to escape routes to be used in the case of fire should be able to resist the passage of smoke and or fire for long enough for any persons to escape the premises.

    Where sleeping accommodation is encountered there should be imperforate fire separation between the two uses.

    This separation should limit a fire spreading for:

    A minimum of 30 minutes, where there is interlinked detection and warning fitted between the two uses


    A minimum of 60 minutes where there is no interlinked detection or warning system between the two uses.

    This includes any materials or services that pass, through fire compartment walls, floors, and ceilings they should all provide the required minimal rating.

    If you are unsure of the fire separation within your premises, then you should seek advice from a competent person, and this should be assessed as part of your fire risk assessment.

    Further advice and guidance on appropriate fire stopping products and materials can be sought from a competent person or by visiting Association for Specialist Fire Protection (

  • Q6. Have all staff on the premises been given fire safety training within the last 12 months?

    You need to train new staff when they start work and tell all employees about any new fire risks.

    All staff should be given information and instruction as soon as possible after they are appointed and on a continual and regular basis after that. Make sure you include staff who work outside normal working hours, such as contract cleaners or maintenance staff. The information and instructions you give must be in a form that can be used and understood.

    All training should take account of those with disabilities such as hearing or sight impairment, those with learning difficulties and those who do not use English as their first language.

    The information and instruction you give should be based on your emergency plan and must include:

    • the significant findings from your fire risk assessment.
    • the measures that you have put in place to reduce the risk.
    • what staff should do if there is a fire.
    • the identity of people you have nominated with responsibilities for fire safety; and
    • any special arrangements for serious and imminent danger to persons from fire.

    You should carry out at least one fire drill per year and record the results. You must keep the results as part of your fire safety and evacuation plan, along with all other staff training records.

  • Q7. Are all exit routes clear of obstruction/combustible material?

    All fire escape routes must offer free, unobstructed evacuation from the Premises, and must not be used for storage of any combustible materials.

    An emergency exit is a clear, safe way to get out of a building. It provides fast exit in case of emergency such as a fire. Many building occupants typically do not realise the importance of the means of egress until they are compromised or completely inaccessible during an emergency.

    Obstructions in fire exit routes, such as boxes, equipment, stock etc. can in a fire cause people to fall, seriously hurt themselves, and even block the exit passageway for others. Keeping exit passageways clear of obstacles enables people to exit a building more quickly and safely.

  • Q8. Where required (i.e., the premises has more than one fire exit), are all exit routes clearly indicated with emergency signage? Can you follow them out of the premises?

    Fire safety signage is essential to assist people escape from an emergency incident, with re-assurance throughout the route with continued directional signs. These signs are particularly important to guide people unfamiliar with the environment, although in the event of an emergency, those who are normally familiar with the environment may become disorientated and confused. This can of course include the emergency services that may need to enter a building after you have evacuated.

    Within your building, where there is more than one exit route or people maybe un-familiar with the layout, an escape sign should always be visible. Once past the first fire escape sign, the next escape sign along the route must be clearly seen. Further signage maybe required at every change of direction along the escape route. A fire exit sign must be above all final fire exit doors.

    Further guidance on escape signage can be found in BS5499 or by consulting a competent person.

  • Q9. Where required are fire doors in good working order and close fully into their rebates

    Fire doors serve several purposes, such as protecting escape routes on stairs and corridors, slowing the spread of a fire, separation fire hazards and providing places of relative safety. A fire door can give people valuable time to evacuate in the event of an emergency and prevent a fire altogether by ensuring hazards, such as an ignition point, and potential fuel source cannot come into contact.

    A 5-step check for fire doors

    This simple 5-step check should tell you if your fire doors are up to standard:

    • Check it for certification – There should be a label on top (or sometimes on the side of the door) to show it is a certified fire door. If there is not, the door might need replacing and should be reported to whoever oversees the buildings fire safety.
    • Measure the gaps – The gaps around a fire door should be consistently less than 3mm (the bottom threshold can be slightly larger but no more than 8-10mm). You can use a £1 coin to test this which is around 3mm.
    • Assess the seals – The intumescent seals around a fire door are paramount to ensuring its fire safety; if the door doesn’t have intumescent seals or if they are damaged, the fire safety could be compromised. Report any damaged or missing seals to whoever oversees the buildings fire safety.
    • Does it fully close? – Open the door and let it close on its own. If it does not close all the way by itself then it is not likely to be helpful in the event of a fire. If it sticks even by a few centimetres, then it could be compromised.
    • Check the hinges – If the hinges are not firmly fixed or have missing/broken screws then the integrity of the door could be compromised and require maintenance. Valuable time can be saved with properly maintained hinges.
  • Q10. Can all final exit and fire escape route doors be easily opened without the use of a key and not padlocked or chained closed?

    Fire exit doors do not have to be manufactured to withstand and stop the spread of fire. Their main purpose is to be able to be opened quickly and easily so that people can escape the building in the shortest time possible in the event of an emergency.

    The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005, commonly known as the Fire Safety Order, states that the following requirements must be adhered to:

    • Fire exit doors must open in the direction of escape and sliding, or revolving doors must not be used for exits specifically intended as emergency exits.
    • Fire exit doors must not be locked or fastened in a way that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person in an emergency.
    • If the door is also to provide security, a fire exit door can be locked from the outside but must be fitted with an emergency push bar (or other emergency access device) to allow a quick escape.

    Fire exits must be clearly marked and identifiable using adequate lighting and/or signage.

  • Q11. Is firefighting equipment available and unobstructed?

    In small premises, having one or two portable extinguishers of the appropriate type, readily available for use, may be all that is necessary. In larger, more complex premises, a number of portable extinguishers may be required, and they should be sited in suitable locations, e.g., on the escape routes at each floor level. It may also be necessary to indicate the location of extinguishers by suitable signs.

    Your premises should be equipped with a means of fighting small fires. The type, and amount of fire extinguishers that you need, will be determined by your fire risk assessment. It will generally be dictated by the type of risk and size of your premises.

  • Q12. Is the external perimeter of the building free of excessive or inappropriate storage or combustibles?

    It is important to consider the potential impacts of combustible items that are stored up or against a building i.e. loose refuse, stock or other items that are combustible. If these items are ignited either accidentally or deliberately, a fire could spread into your premises causing damage and impact on business continuity.

    Consideration should be given to external waste storage being kept within a secure compound and away from the premises.  Any skips that may be used should normally be placed a minimum of six metres away from the premises.  Also consider an effective waste management plan if large quantities of combustible waste material are generated by your premises.

  • Q13. Is there adequate access to the building for firefighting purposes?

    It is important that when a fire occurs in a building that Fire and Rescue Services can get as close the building as possible. This is so that the firefighters can rescue any persons that may have become trapped and extinguish the fire as quickly as possible, which will help to mitigate damage and economical losses.

    Businesses should therefore ensure that all access points to the building and facilities for firefighting such as riser inlets are clear of obstructions and that emergency assembly points for evacuation are located away from the building.