What is a Business Fire Safety Check (BFSC) and why has your business been identified?
There are approximately 60,000 commercial premises across Lancashire. All business/ commercial premises are regulated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service on behalf of the Combined Fire Authority have a legal duty to ensure that premises and any relevant persons within these premises, are kept safe from fire and that all potential hazards that could cause harm, are sufficiently risk assessed and adequately managed.
As an enforcing authority, we undertake a range of activities to support businesses and to help ensure they remain safe and compliant of their duties under the FSO. A business fire safety check is just one activity aimed at promoting fire safety and assisting businesses to remain compliant. Where premises do not comply, we can take informal or more formal enforcement action if we deem there to be an immediate risk to life.
What are the benefits of a business fire safety check?
The aim of the business fire safety check is to help and support businesses in ensuring that they comply with the legal responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005. The check is informal and will offer you the following benefits:
- a free check of your fire safety arrangements to help support your own fire risk assessment.
- free access to fire safety advice and support via our website
- we will also conduct environmental and arson vulnerability assessments around the external areas of your premises. This will help us to identify any potential risks that may impact on your business i.e. loose refuse, which could be targeted for arson. Where relevant we can then work with the local authorities to have any potential hazards removed.
- it allows Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to collate risk information on any hazards that may cause them harm if the building was to have a fire i.e. gas cylinders stored in the building
How long will your business fire safety check take?
As every business differs in size, layout, and complexity, it is not possible to give a definitive time on how long your check will take. You should anticipate that the check may potentially take up to one hour.
Who will be conducting the business fire safety check?
The check will be conducted by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s operational firefighters.
On arrival they will introduce themselves to the person who has agreed the date and time of the check or to the person assigned by your business to facilitate the visit.
What to expect during your business fire safety check?
The business fire safety check will have three parts:
Part 1 – Information gathering (please try and arrange a quiet area for this)
The firefighters will use an digital questionnaire to ask a series of questions relating to the fire safety management and facilities within the premises. To help prepare for these questions, we advise that you have any fire safety documentation ready that evidences the following areas:
- fire risk assessment and evacuation policy
- maintenance of any fire safety equipment i.e. fire alarms systems, emergency lighting, sprinkler systems (if applicable) and fire extinguishers
- staff fire training
Part 2 – visual check of premises
You will be asked to walk the firefighters around the premises and show them the physical fire safety features within the premises i.e. fire doors, fire alarm panels, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers.
Part 3 – Summary of the business fire safety check
Once parts 1 and 2 have been completed the firefighters will score the BFSC based on the information provided and what they observe from the visual walk around.
There are two potential outcomes from the check and the outcome will be verbally communicated during the visit.
The two potential outcomes are:
Satisfactory outcome – from the information provided and observations during the check, the firefighters deem the fire safety arrangements within the premises on the day to be adequate. If applicable, any minor areas of improvement will be highlighted to you, and you will be signposted to the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service business fire safety webpage for further guidance and support on how to improve on any areas identified.
Unsatisfactory outcome – if from the information provided or the observations made during the check indicate serious concerns around fire safety within the premises, the firefighters will refer the premises to our local fire safety teams, who will arrange a subsequent fire safety audit. This will be communicated at the end of your check and you will be informed on what will happen next. Please note: The check undertaken by our firefighters will not, in itself, result in any formal enforcement.
Next steps – your booking date
We hope that this information provides you with an overview of what to expect during your check.
If you are unable to make your confirmed booking date, please contact us on the contact details provided on your booking letter at your earliest convenience.
After the check
If you have had a business fire safety check and you want to read our guidance on how you can make your business, employees and customers safer, please visit the Understanding your Business Fire Safety Check Result page.