Fire safety is essential in every business, no matter how large or small; this is especially important for residential care setting such as a nursing home. Implementing fire safety measures ensures that injuries to staff residents and property damage are kept to a minimum or prevented entirely. The duty for fire safety rests with the employer, the registered provider and the person in charge(PIC). Fire Risk Assessments are required under current regulations for all commercial buildings, and they must be completed by the owners and occupiers of such buildings.
Therefore, fire Risk Assessments must be carried out under the Fire Services Act of 1981, Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005, and in the case of residential care under the Health Act 2007, respectively. The failure to address or take into consideration fire hazards is inherently dangerous. There is a risk of catastrophic consequences, including losing life and significant damage to business property where fire risk assessments are not completed or are completed by a person who is not competent to do so.
Due to our decades-long experience in the fire, health and safety sector, we have aided small, medium, and big enterprises and organisations in formulating fire risk assessments, including hospitality, transportation, entertainment, manufacturing, and healthcare premises, PAS 79-2020 Fire Risk Assessment meets the requirements set out in HIQA January 2021 “Fire Safety Handbook a Guide for Providers and Staff of Designated Centres”, where it states, “The report should describe the actions taken by the provider and managers to manage identified risks. The report should also record the measures being implemented to eliminate or control the identified risks. The risk assessment should be carried out to a recognised standard such as PAS 79, which your competent fire safety professional can advise you on”.
It is estimated that over 90% of workplace fires in Ireland are caused by human error. Further investigation indicates that, of the many enterprises that have been affected by a fire, up to 80% of them do not return to normal operations. The devastating consequences of fire cannot be overlooked: people, structures, lives, and livelihoods may all be lost. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 include employer’s need to have fire safety risk assessments that identify fire hazards, with a systematic evaluation of threats and vulnerabilities to determine whether a risk of harm to staff or the general public exists. It is also necessary to consider the criteria for safe evacuation and placement of the residents in a residential care setting, such as a nursing home.
In addition to performing Fire Risk Assessments, Phoenix STS will provide recommendations on additional measures necessary to ensure compliance with fire safety legislation; the requirements set out under the Health Act 2007 and 2013 Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People Regulations (HIQA).
We can also help you develop your emergency response and evacuation plan, train your fire managers and staff, complete fire drills and set up your fire register. In addition, Phoenix STS carries professional indemnity insurance to provide fire safety consultancy services.
Steps to Fire Risk Assessments;
- The first step of a fire risk assessment is to identify the fire hazards in the centre
- Identify the people at risk
- Review means of escape routes
- Assess availability of suitable evacuation equipment
- Review smoke control systems
- Review internal and external fire spread risks
- Review the storage’s and use of flammable, explosive or potentially explosive materials such as oxygen
- Review fire detection & alarm systems
- Review emergency lighting (escape lighting)
- Review fire-fighting equipment
- Review fire safety signage and evacuation plans
- Review emergency plans and fire safety register
- Review access and facilities for the fire service
- Review fire safety management system
- Review employee fire safety training
- Evaluate the hazards and risks
- Record our findings
- Prepare a fire safety report with clear recommendations
On completion of the fire safety assessment, you will be presented with a report. This report will highlight non-compliance with building regulations or fire safety legislation. Also, highlight where fire safety training is required to ensure compliance, including a prioritised action plan for implementation to ensure compliance with fire safety legislation and requirements set out by the regulator HIQA & Mental Health Commission, guidance, and best practice.
How do we Complete the Fire Risk Assessment?
- When our assessor arrives on-site, they will first go through the process outlining the procedure for the assessment.
- Review documentation available to demonstrate fire compliance regulations are being met; this process takes between one and a half and two hours.
- We would typically request the facilities manager or maintenance person and fire safety manager (person in charge) be present for this element of the assessment.
- We then move to inspect the building; upon completion of the inspection, we meet with the relevant management team and summarise the findings.
- Although this inspection is ordinarily visual non-intrusive, the outcome may lead to a more in-depth analysis of fire risks identified during this process.
- Our report will generally be available within 72 hours of the inspection date, excluding bank holidays and weekends.
Fire Risk Assessment Questionnaire
Please see below a list of questions that will assist us in completing the fire risk assessment. It is pretty standard for management not to answer all of the questions listed below; provide what information is available to you, and we will help you find the rest.