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Fire Safety Audit - What to expect when a Fire Officer calls

Audits are carried out following nationally agreed guidelines so that any advice given to you is consistent and proportionate to any risk in your premises.

 

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Inspectors carry out audits in a fair and open manner in accordance with the NIFRS Enforcement Policy.

 

Fire Safety Inspectors are issued with an identity card and a written warrant from the Chief Fire Officer which will be shown to you on request. This warrant gives the Inspector the power to enforce fire safety duties as detailed above.

 

During the audit the Inspector will ask to view the following documents, where applicable to your premises:

 

Fire Risk Assessment

Fire Precautions Log Book

Records of Staff Training and Fire Drills

Records of Testing and Maintenance of Firefighting Equipment (Extinguishers)

Records of Testing and Maintenance of all Fire Safety Systems including Fire Alarms, Emergency Lighting, Sprinkler System, Smoke Ventilation System

Fire Safety Standards Within The Building

 

As part of the audit, the Inspector may wish to view the fire safety standards in all or part of the building. The Inspector may also wish to talk to members of staff to confirm their level of fire safety awareness.

 

Worried about an upcoming Fire Safety Audit?

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Fire Extinguishing Equipment

Fire Alarm Detection Systems

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Emergency Lighting Systems

PAT Testing / Fixed Inspection Testing

Fire Risk Assessment

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Staff Training

You will need to demonstrate to the Fire Officer that you perform a daily visual inspection of your fire alarm and weekly test on a different Manual Call Point and show him them the records you have kept of this.

He may ask you to perform this test during his visit to show you are familiar with the procedure.

They will also need to see your historical records of servicing and maintenance by an external firm. Your alarm system must be inspected and serviced at intervals of no more than every six months.

Your Emergency Lighting System requires a monthly functional test to ensure that all lights are working correctly and to identify any potential problems that may occur in an emergency situation. This is generally carried out using an appropriate test key and you may be required to demonstrate this to the visiting Officer. Your system also requires a full service and inspection and duration test on an annual basis by an external company. You will need to provide written records and certificates to the inspecting Officer.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition.  This can be demonstrated by In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (PAT Testing)

The visiting Fire Officer may ask to see records of any testing that you have carried out.

This is arguably the most important duty an employer is required to carry out and it will usually be the first thing the visiting Fire Officer will ask you for when he enters your premises..

If you have five or more members of staff employeed it is a legal requirement to have a written Fire Risk Assessment in place and failure to produce one could lead to an enforcement ,alteration or prohibition notice being served on your business.

This is an area that a lot of employers disregard and yet it is vitally important.

All members of staff are required to be given training appropriate to their job role and their responsibility within the business. You will need to produce written records for all employees  stating the training they have received , the date it was carried out on and when it is to be reviewed.

Written records of employees who have participated in Fire Drills must also be kept and produced.

The Fire Officer will want to see documented evidence that you check your fire extinguishers on a weekly / monthly basis to ensure they have not been tampered with, have not malfunctioned and are not missing.

They will also request evidence that your extinguishers have been serviced on an annual basis and discharge tested at appropriate intervals.

They may also check your premises to see if you have the right amount or type of extinguishers for your type of business / premises.

Fire Risk Assessment

A Fire Risk Assessment is the most important duty an employer is required to carry out. It is a legal requirement and is usually the first thing any visiting Fire Officer will ask to see. If you have five or more people employed you must have a written copy of this document. Failure to produce one could lead to you being issued with an enforcement , alterations or in extreme circumstances a prohibition notice. This document provides the basis of all your fire safety measures and planning. If you had a Fire Risk Assessment carried out in recent years you may not necessarily have to produce a new one but you must prove that you have reviewed it on a regular basis.