The Fire Management Policy outlines the arrangements for effectively managing fire safety in so as to prevent the likelihood of fire occurring and, in the unlikely event of fire, to protect employees, visitors and others from injury and mitigate potential damage to property. Compliance with the Policy is a requirement under The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 (FSO) and The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010. This is in addition to the requirements under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 and The Disability Discrimination Order (Northern Ireland) 2006 to implement effective arrangements for access and emergency evacuation for employees and visitors.
The aims of the Fire Management Policy are to:
- define Appropriate Persons under legislative requirements;
- to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation;
- to undertake suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessments of premises and to review at a regular timeframe or when material changes occur;
- to identify and implement reasonably practicable control measures to reduce the risk of injury or damage from fire;
- to deliver, as required, suitable fire safety instructions and evacuation procedures to all employees;
- to provide suitable fire safety instructions and evacuation procedures to visitors, contractors and others whilst on premises;
- to undertake and make record of regular fire evacuation drills;
- to undertake and make record of testing and maintenance of all First Aid
- Firefighting Equipment, Fire Alarm Systems, Emergency Lighting and the existing fire precautions where necessary;
- to undertake and make record on a regular basis of fire safety inspections of all fire safety systems on premises
The responsibility for complying with the FSO rests with the ‘Appropriate Person’.
The fire safety officer will delegate responsibility to ensure that sufficient competent personnel with appropriate resources are available to implement the Fire Management Policy which meets the requirements imposed by the FSO. The fire safety officer will ensure the overall requirements of Fire Management Policy are met.
The implementation and co-ordination of fire safety arrangements is the responsibility of fire safety officer, who is responsible for the maintenance of fire safety measures and are to ensure that fire safety training needs are identified and implemented for their staff.
The fire safety officer must ensure that:
- staff under their area of responsibility understand and implement the requirements of the Fire Management Policy;
- a Fire Risk Assessment is completed and reviewed at a regular timeframe or when material changes occur;
- action is taken to ensure that any control measures identified by the Fire Risk Assessment are implemented or passed to a relevant person for action;
- all fire safety measures and fire safety practices are maintained;
- all staff within their Department/Area of responsibility are provided with fire safety training including induction training, refresher training and any further specific training, i.e., Fire Marshals/Wardens, as required;
- arrangements/liaison is made with all staff to undertake regular fire evacuation training exercises to test effectiveness of emergency plans;
- all contractors, visitors and any other persons under their responsibility, whilst in/on premises, are controlled and made aware of the relevant fire safety instructions;
- any person who may be especially at risk from fire has a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) and that it is reviewed at least every 12 months. Each employee also has a responsibility and must ensure whilst at work they take reasonable care in respect of fire for themselves and any other person who may be affected by their actions. They must also co-operate fully with their employer to ensure that his responsibilities are achieved.
A Fire Risk Assessment is required for all premises. The Fire Risk Assessment is a methodical examination of premises looking at the activities carried out, the likelihood that a fire could occur and, having taken account of the significant findings, the reasonably practicable control measures introduced to reduce the risk from fire.
The Fire Risk Assessment should therefore be used to prioritise and implement the preventative and protective measures deemed necessary for each premises.
The Fire Risk Assessment should include:
- identification of fire hazards and assessment of risks arising from them;
- identification of people at risk;
- details of dangerous substances;
- fire prevention and protection measures in place;
- action plan compiled of any additional fire safety measures required to address relevant risks;
- procedures for fighting fire;
- identity of persons with specific duties in the event of fire, e.g., Fire Marshals/Wardens;
- details of written instructions to staff;
- details of fire safety training;
- details of specific training where appropriate, i.e., Fire Marshal/Warden.
- details of emergency evacuation drills;
- details of maintenance and test arrangements in place for all fire safety measures;
- details of fire safety record keeping.
The premises will have an Emergency Evacuation Plan. The plan will cover aspects relating to the evacuation which will take into consideration the specific building features:
- Action to take on the discovery of a fire
- Action to take on hearing the fire alarm
- Role of nominated persons (Fire Marshals/Wardens)where necessary
- Procedures for informing NIFRS
- How to evacuate the premises
- The evacuation of persons especially at risk
- The location of Assembly Points
- Procedures and roll call at Assembly Points
- The provision of first-aid fire fighting equipment and arrangements for fighting fire
- Procedures to liaise with attending NIFRS fire crews/other Emergency Services
Emergency evacuation drills shall be carried out monthly to comply with Social Services recommendations. Records of all evacuations, whether by fire or drill, shall be kept in the Fire Evacuation Record Log.
The fire safety officer shall be responsible for any testing and maintenance requirements which are a requirement of the Fire safety Order.
Maintenance by specialist contractors will be arranged by the fire safety officer.
Maintenance records by specialist contractors may be kept in administration office.
i. Fire Alarm & Detection System
- The fire alarm system shall be tested once a week.
- A record of all fire alarm testing shall be kept in the relevant section of the Fire log book.
- Any maintenance of the fire alarm & detection system shall be carried out by a competent person.
ii. Fire Extinguisher
- Shall be visually inspected monthly to ensure no defects.
- All first-aid fire fighting equipment will be tested annually by a competent person.
- A record of all maintenance of fire extinguishers shall be kept in the Fire fighting Media section of the Fire log book.
iii. Emergency lighting
- Shall be subject to required testing by a competent person.
- A record of all emergency lighting tests shall be kept in the Emergency Lighting section of the Fire log book.
iv. Workplace fire safety inspection
It is important that the building is subject to a periodic fire safety inspection timetable; this is a visual inspection so that any faults or defects can be addressed. All faults or defects shall be reported immediately to the fire safety officer.
Particular attention shall be paid to the following:
- Fire detection system
- Fire extinguishers
- Fire doors should open and close effectively without assistance
- Escape routes shall be kept clear
- Final exit doors shall be readily available
- Avoidance of a build-up of combustible materials
- Consider the risk of arson
Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) must be developed for any person who needs special assistance to exit a building in an emergency situation. If someone needs assistance to leave the building safely the PEEP should be documented along with the names of persons who will assist them.
All electrical equipment belonging to staff and members of public must be PAT tested before it is introduced into premises. PAT testing is to be undertaken on electrical equipment annually. Management will tell staff when the next PAT test is due. Personal equipment should not be used in premises unless absolutely necessary.
All electrical equipment introduced onto premises by contractors must be tested for electrical & fire safety.
The fire safety officer is required to ensure that the fire safety management arrangements detailed in the Fire Management Folder are monitored on a regular basis to ensure that they remain current and effective. Any necessary actions or repairs must be noted in the relevant section of the Fire Management
Folder and all relevant persons informed.
All Fire Risk Assessments will be subject to regular review. The review period should not exceed 2 years or when changes within the premises occur.