Fire Safety: Reducing Risks to Prevent Disaster

Posted by Carrol Dudley on 16-Jun-2015 14:35:00
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The recent incident at the National Trust’s Clandon Park House in Surrey has driven home to all of us the devastating impact that a fire can have.


Thankfully, nobody was injured and a significant proportion of the house was saved but, as the images in the media have all too clearly illustrated, the resulting damage to the property is extensive.

Historical buildings are particularly at risk from fires, as they were designed and built long before modern safety regulations came into force. However, to ensure the security of any building, it is important that all relevant regulations, standards and procedures are fully understood and followed.


According to the latest fire statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government, emergency services were called to attend approximately 22,000 fires in non-residential buildings last year, with around 75 percent of these being accidental fires.

At SOCOTEC, while providing Fire Risk Assessments, we’ve witnessed businesses inadvertently breach fire safety regulations, purely through a lack of knowledge of current legislation. This not only poses a risk of financial repercussions for business owners, but also puts the lives of the building’s occupants in jeopardy.

Under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, it is a legal requirement that all employers must carry out a fire risk assessment that seeks to either remove or reduce the risk of fire.

If five or more people are employed within the business, any significant findings must be documented. In all cases, the assessment must be periodically reviewed to ensure that it remains up to date to safeguard both people and property from harm.

These assessments are important, as over the years, working practices, the usage of the building, where materials are stored, inspection and testing regimes can change, which may have a substantial effect on the fire risk of the building.

Legislation and guidance is often subject to review, which means it’s vitally important that businesses keep abreast of changes and action any necessary measures.

Our fire safety consultants are highly trained and aim to help our clients by giving advice on both current and upcoming regulations for a range of sectors.

If we do happen to find anything of concern, we’ll work with our clients and present them with an action plan they can put in place to increase safety in their buildings.

As well as being compliant with the latest regulations, it’s important that staff know exactly what to do in the case of an emergency, which is why we also offer a range of fire safety training courses to help property managers, fire wardens and safety representatives understand their responsibilities.

If you’re a business owner in need of a fire risk assessment or want to enroll in one of our fire safety training courses, it would be great to hear from you. 

Topics: Built Environment Services, Reducing Risks, Fire Safety, Health & Safety