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Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service uses the national fire safety audit process developed by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) to complete comprehensive inspections of buildings. This process ensures consistent, auditable and transparent enforcement that can be challenged. This audit system looks at the level of compliance across a range of areas required by the legislation and produces an enforcement option that ranges from verbal advice to the issue of an enforcement notice.

 

Number of Fire Safety Audits completed and their results

 

In 2011/12 DSFRS completed 820 fire safety audits.

Accurate targeting of our activity should ensure all premises we visit require some form of informal or formal action. If this is the case then we are making the highest risk properties safer and enabling those premises that are safer, and who comply with the law, to continue with their day to day business.

  • If an audit has taken place and the premises is broadly compliant with the requirements then a satisfactory audit is recorded.
  • Informal activity means the premises has received a letter informing them of work required to be carried out.
  • Formal activity would mean that a 'notice' (www.dsfire.gov.uk/YourSafety/SafetyAtWorkandotherplaces/OurEnforcementRegister) had been issued on the premises. This will include a timescale for completion of work and is issued when the areas of non-compliance are more serious than that required of an informal notification.
 

Examples of formal activity are:

  • Alterations notice; This is issued when it is believed that should an alteration be made to a premises, the occupants may be in danger of a serious risk in case of fire.
  • Enforcement notice; This would be issued when it is considered the risk to occupants in case of fire is more serious than can be dealt with by the sending of a letter. An enforcement notice will stipulate a time scale when works must be completed by.

  • Prohibition notice; This would be issued when despite our efforts to work with the responsible person for a property to achieve compliance there are still times when, in our professional opinion, the condition of a building and the lack of fire safety provision mean that there is a significant risk of death or serious injury to persons within that building in the case of a fire starting. If this is the case under the fire safety law we have the power, by the serving of a notice, to prohibit or restrict use of or access to part or all of the building until it is made safer

  • Prosecutions - as a last resort we can prosecute. This is not an action that we take lightly and each situation is carefully assessed against evidential and public interest factors. There are occasions when we feel that there are no options left to us. If this is the case we will not hesitate to pursue this course of action. DSFRS retains the services of a barrister and local solicitor to provide professional legal advice and assistance when necessary.

Please note; More than one notice can be issued on a single premises, for example an Enforcement Notice stipulating a time scale for work to be completed and additionally a Prohibition Notice, stopping use of a particular area of the building.

 


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