Regulatory Reform Order
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 introduced significant change. As well as simplifying current legislation, it introduced the need for employers, building owners and occupiers to have a greater understanding of fire safety and nominate a “responsible person” to ensure compliance.
Fire safety training
You must provide adequate fire safety training for your staff. The type of training should be based on the particular features of your premises and should:
- take account of the findings of the fire risk assessment;
- explain your emergency procedures;
- take account of the work activity and explain the duties and responsibilities of staff;
- take place during normal working hours and be repeated periodically where appropriate;
- be easily understandable by your staff and other people who may be present; and
- be tested by fire drills.
In larger premises, such as a supermarket with a high staff turnover and many shift patterns, the organisation of fire safety training will need to be planned.
Your staff training should include the following:
- what to do on discovering a fire;
- how to raise the alarm and what happens then;
- what to do upon hearing the fire alarm;
- the procedures for alerting members of the public and visitors including, where appropriate, directing them to exits;
- the arrangements for calling the fire and rescue service;
- the evacuation procedures for everyone in your office or shop to reach an assembly point at a place of total safety;
- the location and, when appropriate, the use of firefighting equipment;
- the location of escape routes, especially those not in regular use;
- how to open all emergency exit doors;
- the importance of keeping fire doors closed to prevent the spread of fire, heat and smoke;
- where appropriate, how to stop machines and processes and isolate power supplies in the event of a fire;
- the reason for not using lifts (except those specifically installed or nominated, following a suitable fire risk assessment, for the evacuation of people with a disability);
- the safe use of and risks from storing or working with highly flammable and explosive substances; and
- the importance of general fire safety, which includes good housekeeping.
Staff expected to undertake the role of fire wardens (sometimes called Fire Marshalls) would require more comprehensive training. Their role may include:
- helping those on the premises to leave;
- checking the premises to ensure everyone has left;
- using firefighting equipment if safe to do so;
- liaising with the fire and rescue service on arrival;
- shutting down vital or dangerous equipment; and
- performing a supervisory/managing role in any fire situation.
Training for this role may include:
- detailed knowledge of the fire safety strategy of the premises;
- awareness of human behaviour in fires;
- how to encourage others to use the most appropriate escape route;
- how to search safely and recognise areas that are unsafe to enter;
- the difficulties that some people, particularly if disabled, may have in escaping and any special evacuation arrangements that have been pre-planned;
- additional training in the use of firefighting equipment;
- an understanding of the purpose of any fixed firefighting equipment such as sprinklers or gas flooding systems; and
- reporting of faults, incidents and near misses.