Business Fire Safety Checks
There are approximately 25,000 commercial premises (including flats) across Bedfordshire. All business/commercial premises are regulated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO). Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has a legal duty to ensure that premises and any relevant persons within these premises are kept safe from fire and that all potential hazards that could cause harm are sufficiently risk assessed and adequately managed.
As an enforcing authority, we support businesses to ensure they remain safe and compliant of their duties under the FSO. A business fire safety check is just one activity aimed at promoting fire safety and assisting businesses to remain compliant. Where premises do not comply, we can take informal or more formal enforcement action if we deem there to be an immediate risk to life.
How a Fire Safety Check can help you:
This informal check will help to ensure that your business complies with the legal responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005.
How long will your Business Fire Safety Check take?
As every business differs in size, layout, and complexity, it is not possible to give a definitive time on how long your check will take. You should anticipate that the check may potentially take up to one hour.
Who will be conducting the Business Fire Safety Check?
The check will be conducted by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s operational firefighters. On arrival they will introduce themselves to the Responsible Person of the business to facilitate the visit.
Are fire safety checks pre-booked?
Fire safety checks are not pre-booked, operational firefighters what to see the business operating under normal conditions to get a true perspective with regards to the fire safety measures that are place.
The firefighters will use a digital questionnaire to ask a series of questions relating to the fire safety management and facilities within the premises. To help prepare for these questions, we advise that you have any fire safety documentation ready that evidences the following areas:
- fire risk assessment and evacuation policy
- maintenance records of any fire safety equipment i.e. fire alarms systems, emergency lighting, sprinkler systems (if applicable) and fire extinguishers
- staff fire training
Visual check of premises
You will be asked to walk the firefighters around the premises and show them the physical fire safety features within the premises i.e. fire doors, fire alarm panels, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers.
Summary of the Business Fire Safety Check
Once parts 1 and 2 have been completed the firefighters will score the BFSC based on the information provided and what they observe from the visual walk around.
There are two potential outcomes from the check and the outcome will be verbally communicated during the visit.
The two potential outcomes are:
- Satisfactory outcome – From the information provided and observations during the check, the firefighters deem the fire safety arrangements within the premises on the day to be adequate. If applicable, any minor areas of improvement will be highlighted to you, and you will be signposted to the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service business fire safety webpage for further guidance and support on how to improve on any areas identified.
- Unsatisfactory outcome – If from the information provided or the observations made during the check, it shows a number of deficiencies have been identified with regards to fire safety within the premises, the firefighters will refer the premises to our local fire safety teams. A fire safety advisor/inspector will initially check the details recorded and if necessary, arrange a subsequent fire safety audit. If more serious concerns regarding the fire safety measures are identified this will be communicated at the end of your check, and you will be informed on what will happen next. It could result in an inspection the same day. Please note: The check undertaken by our firefighters will not, in itself, result in any formal enforcement.
After The Check
If you have had a business fire safety check and you want to read our guidance on how you can make your business, employees and customers safer, please visit the Understanding your Business Fire Safety Check Result page.