We are all concerned with making the world a safer place, but our responsibilities start closer to home. If you're a business owner which uses a lot 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, under the Regulatory Reform Act 2005, that you simply execute fire safety assessment for the premises.
Fire safety assessments MUST be completed by a professional fire risk assessor and each business should have a nominated 'responsible person' - it is 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 are visited by fire safety assessors, they are effective alongside the 'responsible person' to identify any potential safety risks and check that you're acting in accordance with regulatory requirements. Fire risk assessors are very well trained and conduct an intensive and comprehensive investigation. They'll consider the alarm system and log book, existing fire safety equipment, emergency lighting, procedures already in place and then any service documents associated with on-site equipment for example fire extinguishers.
Your fire risk assessors will place their findings and produce an in depth report, together with a list of recommendations for improved safety in your premises. These risk assessments can be used for insurance purposes and can act as a reference point for future fire safety reviews. You should distinguish here between fire certificates and fire risk assessments; the previous aren't legal and were abolished to create method for the 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 quickly as possible - or else you are breaking the law.
When your fire risk assessors have produced their report they'll send a copy on to you and also make sure that you realize all of the information and recommendations contained within. It is crucial that you act on any advice out of your risk assessments - they are consultative documents, demonstrating due diligence and compliance. Not just are these fire risk assessments necessary with regards to the law, but they're also essential for the reassurance that the property, goods and more importantly, employees or tenants are fully protected.