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Fire Training in UK: Comply With the Law

You probably don’t have the burning desire to find out all you can about fire safety. But there’s no two ways about it- fire safety training for staff is a legal requirement in the UK. According to section 21 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, ‘the responsible person must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate safety training.’

Who is ‘the responsible person’?

In the UK and Wales, you are the ‘responsible person’ if you are the business owner, employer, landlord or business owner. You are also held responsible if you have paying guests, or if you are an occupier of a business or other non-domestic premises. Legally, it is your responsibility to provide all members of staff with adequate fire safety training. If you are the responsible person, find out what your other responsibilities are here Fire Training UK

When must you provide your staff with fire training?

• When they are first employed • When they are exposed to a new or increased risk • When new systems, tools or pieces of equipment or technology are introduced • When a system of work is changed

What are the fire safety training requirements?

The training must provide all staff members with instruction and training on the appropriate ways to keep themselves, and other people on site, safe. The training will need to be adapted when appropriate to include new risks. It must also take place during working hours so that all employees can attend.

Assessing the risk

In order to give appropriate training, you must first carry out a fire risk assessment. If you employ five people or more, you must record the results. You must then implement and maintain all of the necessary fire safety measures and create an emergency plan. Once you have done this, you must ensure that your staff members are made aware of the risks, safety measures and your emergency plan, including the emergency evacuation procedure. You can tell staff yourself, or notify a representative. Ffor more information on conducting a simple risk assessment click here.

What should your training include?

• How to respond to the discovery of a fire • How to raise the alarm and what to do next • What to do upon hearing the fire alarm • What the procedures for alerting contractors and visitors include • Where appropriate, how to direct visitors to exits • The arrangements for calling the fire and rescue service • The evacuation procedures for everyone to reach an assembly point at a place of total safety • The location of fire fighting equipment • Where appropriate, how to use fire fighting equipment • The location of escape routes, especially those not in regular use • How to open all emergency exits • The importance of keeping fire doors closed to prevent the spread of fire, heat and smoke • Where appropriate, how to stop machines and power supplies in the event of a fire • The reason for not using lifts (except those specifically installed for an emergency exit) • The safe use of, and risks of, storing or working with highly flammable and explosive substances • The importance of general fire safety, which includes good housekeeping

Test your plan and training

Once you’ve established an emergency plan and rolled it out to your staff, you need to conduct periodic fire drills. This is to make sure your plan is effective, and that all members of staff understand emergency procedures and your escape route. If you have a high staff turnover, you may need to conduct tests more regularly so that new members of staff are tested. If you would like to find out more about conducting a fire drill, click here.

Do my employees need to attend a fire marshal course?

Section 13 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that you must nominate a sufficient number of staff members to ensure safety procedures are properly adhered to. You must provide these people with adequate training. Many companies invest in fire marshal or fire warden training, to ensure that the correct information is covered by industry experts. When deciding on how many staff members you need to train, you should take into account the size of your premises, the hazards involved and number of people you employee. The St John Ambulance website has a great tool that you can use to calculate how many fire marshals you’ll need.

5 steps for choosing the right fire marshal course

1. Picking a course that is approved by an official governing body is one way of ensuring high quality training will be received. Examples of governing bodies are the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) and the National Security Inspectorate (NSI). 2. Choose a course that can be tailored to your business. This way, risks that are specific to your company will be covered. 3. Ensure certificates are issued upon the completion of a course – this way you have documentation that proves the necessary training has been undertaken. 4. Make sure the course is compliant with the RRO (Regulation Reform Order), so you know that you’re legally covered. 5. Opt for onsite training where possible – it is much more effective if your nominated staff members can put their learning into context. If somebody trains to be a fire marshal, does this make them the responsible person? No. You are allocating them duties, but ultimately, you are still the ‘responsible person’. Photo credit: U.S. Army Korea (Historical Image Archive) via photopin cc

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