How the law applies to you
Good fire safety management saves lives and protects property
Fire safety law applies in most enclosed public places including the common areas of flats.
It also applies to open air events such as sporting events, street festivals, county fairs and other similar events. In many cases fire safety solutions can be simple and not very expensive, but the more people who are in the premises or the more dangerous the activity the more complex the solutions need to be.
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is committed to making our communities safer places to live, work or visit while encouraging economic growth. You may wish to view our Enforcement Policy Statement here.
These pages are intended as simple guidance for people responsible for small to medium size premises and do not replace any of the more wide ranging guidance documents and books published by the government. They have been designed so that a responsible person, with no formal training or experience, should be able to carry out a fire risk assessment in smaller, less complicated establishments.
If you decide, having read these pages, that you are unable to apply the guidance, then you should seek expert advice (please see our Register of Risk Assessors page). Larger and more complex premises and establishments are likely to need to be assessed by a person who has further training or experience in fire risk assessment.
In general you will need more detailed guidance if your premises have long or complicated routes to an exit, 20 or more employees or more than 60 people on the premises at any one time. It is important to stress that these numbers are general indicators of when you may need to consider more detailed guidance not rigid trigger points: each place is slightly different for example; one restaurant may cook flambé food and use deep fat fryers while another serves salad and sandwiches.
Put simply, current fire safety law requires the employer, or person who has control of the premises, to carry out a fire risk assessment and act on the findings.
The law requires a record of the significant findings and persons especially at risk if there are five or more employees or if there is a licence in force (e.g. gaming, theatre, alcohol or licensed house in multiple occupation). In practice most people record the whole risk assessment rather than just the significant findings. It is strongly recommended that a record is kept even in the simplest cases because it helps to organise your thoughts and helps focus your attention. Fire safety is a legal requirement to protect people; another benefit is that it also helps to protect your property and business.
This guidance is divided into four sections:
- Simple advice for places where there is no legal requirement to keep a written record. (Less than five employees, no licence in force)
- Advice for small to medium sized premises where a written record is required (five or more employees; licence in force)
- Advice for more complex premises
- Advice for landlords of rented accommodation
Fire Safety Log Book
We are pleased to be able to provide a Fire Safety Log Book for recording tests and maintenance on fire alarms, escape lighting, extinguishers, fire drills, training and other fire safety matters in your premises, which you can download free from this site.
Better Business for All
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) is working with other local regulators and businesses across Devon and Somerset to develop a co-ordinated and consistent approach to assisting businesses in meeting their regulatory requirements. The Better Business for All (BBfA) programme is one initiative we are pleased to be involved with. Find out more about BBfA and how it can work for you by clicking here.
All our safety information can be made available in other languages. Please contact 0800 050 2999 to request a copy.