We are all concerned with making the world a safer place, but our responsibilities start nearer to home. A high level business owner which uses more than four people (full or part-time), own a HMO (house in multiple occupation) or premises for public use, it's now law in the UK, underneath the Regulatory Reform Act 2005, that you carry out fire safety assessment for the premises.
Fire safety assessments MUST be carried out by an expert fire risk assessor and every business must have a nominated 'responsible person' - it's their job to ensure that the company acts in compliance using the assessment which fire safety factors are monitored and reviewed at regular intervals. When you're visited by fire safety assessors, they are effective alongside the 'responsible person' to identify any potential safety risks and check that you're acting according to regulatory requirements. Fire risk assessors are well trained and conduct an intensive and comprehensive investigation. They will look at the security alarm and log book, existing fire safety equipment, emergency lighting, procedures already in position and any service documents relating to on-site equipment for example fire extinguishers.
Your fire risk assessors will take their findings and produce an in depth report, together with a listing of strategies for improved safety in your premises. These risk assessments can be used for insurance purposes and can behave as a reference for future fire safety reviews. You should distinguish here between fire certificates and fire risk assessments; the former aren't legal and were abolished to make way for the brand new, legally required, risk assessments - so if you still have a fire certificate, it is vital that you appoint an experienced fire safety assessor without delay to get your fire risk assessment done as soon as possible - or else you are breaking the law.
When your fire risk assessors have produced their report they will send a duplicate on to you and also make sure that you understand all the information and recommendations contained within. It is important that you act on any advice from your risk assessments - they're consultative documents, demonstrating due diligence and compliance. Not only are these fire risk assessments necessary with regards to the law, but they are also necessary for the peace of mind that your property, goods and most importantly, employees or tenants are fully protected.