FAQs and Report a Fire Safety Concern

Are you contacting us as you need/want a fire risk assessment completing?
Please note, as the enforcing authority of the regulatory reform (Fire Safety Order) we do not complete fire risk assessments. If your premises requires a fire risk assessment you can complete this yourself if competent to do so or we would recommend you seek an external fire risk assessor to complete this. We as the enforcing authority are unable to recommend any person/company.

I have a small business with only two employees. Do I need to carry out a fire risk assessment?
Yes. You will need to carry out a fire risk assessment and have an emergency plan even where there is just one employee. The findings of the risk assessment must be recorded where:

  1. A licence under an enactment is in force.

  2. An Alterations Notice under the Fire Safety Order requires it.

  3. You are an employer and have five or more employees.

For more information on fire risk assessments, visit: https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/fire-risk-assessments


What does a fire risk assessment involve?
There are five key steps in a fire safety risk assessment:

  1. Identify fire hazards – e.g. how could a fire start? what could burn?

  2. Consider the people who may be a risk – e.g. employees, visitors to the premises, and anyone who may be particularly vulnerable such as children, the elderly and disabled people.

  3. Evaluate and act – think about what you have found in steps 1 and 2 and remove and reduce any risks to protect people and premises.

  4. Record, plan and train – keep a record of what risks you identified and what actions you have taken to reduce or remove them. Make a clear plan of how to prevent fires and, should a fire start, you will keep people safe. Make sure your staff know what to do in the event of a fire and if necessary that they are trained for their roles.

  5. Review – regularly review your risk assessment to ensure it remains up to date and reflects and changes that may have occurred.

Do I need extinguishers?
You should look at the appropriate guide for your type of business premises and judge the appropriate type of extinguisher based upon the risks. In general though you should provide one fire extinguisher for every 200 metres squared with at least two per floor.

If it is a very small premises occupying one floor then one extinguisher appropriate to the level of risk may be ok. Guidance should be sought from a competent fire extinguisher provider. For more information on extinguishers, visit: https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/fire-risk-assessments


I live in a block of flats. Why are there no extinguishers/Why have my extinguishers been removed?
Fire Safety in Purpose-Built Blocks of Flats states: "It is rare for there to be a need for fire-fighting equipment to be used by people present in the common parts of blocks of flats. It is, nevertheless, usually provided in plant rooms and other such rooms, for use by the staff and contractors. The provision of fire extinguishers and other forms of fire-fighting equipment in common parts for use by residents is problematic. It is not expected that residents should need to tackle a fire in their flats to make their escape. Indeed, to obtain a fire extinguisher located in the common parts for this purpose would involve the person leaving their flat in the first place."

Extinguishers should only be used by those trained to use them. It is unlikely that residents will have had such training. For more information on fire safety in flats, visit: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1128493/Fire_Safety_in_Purpose_Built_Blocks_of_Flats_Guide-update.pdf


Can I store items in the communal corridors of a block of flats?
Communal areas of blocks of flats should be kept clear and sterile to ensure escape routes are kept clear and available for use by residents in the event of an emergency. This means items such as mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs, push chairs, bikes, furniture and children's toys (list not exhaustive) should not be stored in communal areas.

Some blocks of flats operate a zero tolerance policy where no personal items are allowed in the communal areas. Others operate a managed policy which may allow a small number of personal items immediately outside the resident's door (such as a door mat). In such cases, these items must be non-combustible and must not prevent or restrict occupants and visitors from leaving the premises quickly in the event of an emergency.

Please speak to your managing agent to discuss which policy is in place at your block of flats.


Where can I find information on the legislation with details on how to comply?
Aside from the information provided on this web site, we strongly recommend that you obtain a copy of the relevant guidance document for your premises as listed below. The documents set out the requirements of the Fire Safety Order in a simple, non-prescriptive, user-friendly style and offer advice about whether the responsible person needs to do anything more than they are already doing in order to comply.

  1. Animal Premises & Stables

  2. Means of escape for Disabled Persons (Supplementary Guide)

  3. Offices and Shops

  4. Factories and Warehouses

  5. Sleeping and Accommodation

  6. Residential care premises

  7. Educational Premises

  8. Small and Medium Places of Assembly

  9. Large Places of Assembly

  10. Theatres and Cinemas

  11. Fire Safety Guides Table

  12. Risk Assessment Check List

  13. RRO Short Guide to Making your Premises Safe

  14. Open Air events & Venues

  15. Healthcare Premises

  16. Transport Premises & Facilities

    For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/fire-risk-assessments

Where does the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Apply?
The Order applies to almost all buildings other than individual private homes including individual flats. However, it does apply to shared areas (common parts) of houses in multiple occupation (HMO's) and blocks of flats.


What are the possible outcomes of a Fire Safety Audit?
Fire Safety Inspectors visit premises to check the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005 Order are being met. Inspectors may take action if they are of the opinion that your fire safety measures are not adequate:

  1. They might issue an informal notice suggesting additional safety measures

  2. They could also issue a formal fire safety notice:

    a) Alterations notice - You could get an alterations notice if your premises have high safety risks or will have high safety risks if the use of the premises changes.

    b) Enforcement notice - You could get an enforcement notice if the fire and rescue authority finds a serious risk that’s not being managed. It will say what improvements are needed by when.

    c) Prohibition notice - These take effect immediately if the fire and rescue authority thinks the fire risk is so great that access to your premises needs to be prohibited or restricted.

You can appeal to your local magistrates' court withing 21 days of receiving a notice.

Penalties - Minor penalties can be up to £5,000. Major penalties can have unlimited fines and up to 2 years in prison. 


How do I plan for evacuating disabled persons from my premises?
Under current fire safety legislation it is the responsibility of the person(s) having responsibility for the building to provide a fire safety risk assessment that includes an emergency evacuation plan for all people likely to be in the premises, including disabled people, and how that plan will be implemented. Such an evacuation plan should not rely upon the intervention of the Fire and Rescue Service to make it work. 

This can be achieved in a number of ways:

  1. Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for employees and regular visitors

  2. Standard plans for occasional visitors

  3. Unknown visitors where people do not pass a reception point or are not controlled (in shopping centres etc.)

More information about establishing and implementing an appropriate plan can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-means-of-escape-for-disabled-people


Can I remove a fire escape?

Generally, we would always recommend that you keep and maintain your fire escape, as removing it would be considered material change to the building. Therefore, before doing so and if you consider this to be your only option, building control consent would need to be sought. This would require a building regulations application, with the submission of full plans that should also include a fire risk assessment highlighting any compensatory measures that may be needed for its removal. As part of this process and before consent is given for the application a consultation would then take place between building control and the fire service to ensure any measures put in place to compensate for its removal are adequate.  


Report a Fire Safety Concern to us

The concern you are raising will be triaged depending on the severity of the risk. Following investigation from the Protection Department the concern may warrant no further action and up to, and including, prohibition of part or the whole of a premises.  

If your concern can be better dealt with by one of our other departments, it will be forwarded to them for their consideration. 

If you are a Responsible Person and need to report a fault on lifts or essential fire-fighting equipment as detailed in the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 please use the Lifts and Essential Firefighting Equipment reporting tool. 

If you have a serious fire safety concern that poses an immediate risk to life, please do not complete the form and contact Fire Control on 999.  

This form should only be used for fire safety concerns that do not pose an immediate risk to life. If you are seeking fire safety advice, please use the tiles below to access information and guidance.  

You can report a fire safety concern to us via the button below.

Button saying 'Report a fire safety concern'