Is your organisation prepared for new Fire Law?

Inspecting Officer Dave Bartlett displays some of the new fire safety law brochures provided by the Government

Shropshire organisations are being urged "not to panic" about a new fire safety law being introduced from October 1.

The biggest overhaul in fire safety legislation for 30 years, which hands over responsibility for fire precautions to individual organisations will reduce bureaucracy and make premises more safe, say fire officers.

As well as businesses, the new fire safety law now effects 17,000 "non-domestic premises" such as village halls, churches, meeting rooms, youth hostels, small family run guest houses, voluntary/charity shops and even outdoor events such as the Flower and West Midland Agricultural Shows.

Around 100 existing fire laws are to be repealed or amended in favour of the single piece of judicial legislation in the form of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO).

The aim is to reduce the bureaucratic burden on industry while improving public safety by extending the number of premises which need to assess their fire risk.

Help is at hand from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and in detailed step by step instructions in Government guidance books.

"Some will feel apprehensive but using common sense and the published guidance it will allow people to have fire precautions in place which are tailor made to their own individual organisations," said Divisional Officer Mike Ablitt, Head of Fire Prevention based at the Shrewsbury HQ of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"There should be no radical changes to what employers need to do to meet the requirements of the new law.

"The law has changed but the process for a business carrying out a fire risk assessment has not altered. Employers have been required to carry out their own fire risk assessments on their business premises for the past nine years."

The law requires a "responsible person" to consider the risks a fire in their premises may pose to people legally on the premises or nearby.

In order to comply with the new law, organisations must appoint a "responsible person" to carry out a fire risk assessment to make premises safe; develop an action plan to deal with identified problems and regularly review the fire strategy.

2nd October, 2006