Fire safety checklist for businesses

Use our fire safety checklist to review the risks at your premises. This will help you to think about areas you need to cover in your fire safety risk assessment.

Completing this checklist does not count as a recorded fire risk assessment. If you would like more detailed guidance please see our five steps to risk assessment or our guide to fire safety law.

Download a version of the checklist to print off and complete, or you can use the questions detailed on this page.

Fire Safety Checklist Leaflet.pdf
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1. Fire hazards

Fire starts when heat (source of ignition) comes into contact with fuel (anything that burns) and oxygen (air). You need to keep sources of ignition and fuel apart.

Make a note of anything that could start a fire, and anything that could burn.

Things that could start a fire

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Check you have considered:

  • heaters
  • lighting
  • naked flames
  • electrical equipment
  • hot processes such as welding or grinding
  • cigarettes
  • matches
  • arson or someone starting a fire deliberately 
  • anything that gets very hot or causes sparks.

Items that could burn

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Check you’ve thought about:

  • packaging
  • rubbish
  • furniture
  • fuel (e.g. petrol, paint, varnish and white spirit)
  • wood
  • paper
  • plastic
  • rubber
  • foam
  • walls or ceilings that are made of hardboard, chipboard, or polystyrene.

2. People at risk

Everyone is at risk if there is a fire. Consider whether the risk is greater for some because of when or where they work.

Have you identified:

  • who could be at risk?
  • who could be especially at risk?

Make a note of anyone who's especially at risk of fire

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These could include:

  • people who are sleeping
  • night staff
  • visitors or customers
  • people unfamiliar with the premises
  • anyone under 18
  • elderly people
  • disabled people.

3. Evaluate and act

Evaluate

Think about what you have found in steps one and two.

Make sure you’ve noted down:

  • the risks of a fire starting
  • the risks to people in the building and nearby.

Remove and reduce risk

You need to think about how you can avoid accidental fires.

  • Could a source of heat be knocked or pushed (or sparks fall) onto something that would burn?
  • Could that happen the other way round?

Protection questions to consider

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Answer yes or no to these questions and make a note of areas that need more thought.

  • Have you taken action to protect your premises and people from fire? 
  • Have you assessed the risks of fire in your workplace?    
  • Have you assessed the risk to staff and visitors?
  • Have you kept sources of fuel and heat/sparks apart?
  • If someone wanted to start a fire deliberately, is there anything around they could use?
  • Have you removed or secured any fuel an arsonist could use?
  • Have you protected your premises from accidental fire or arson?
  • How can you make sure everyone is safe in case of fire?
  • Will you know if there is a fire? 
  • Do you have a plan to warn others?
  • Who will make sure everyone gets out? Is there a backup?
  • Who will call the fire service? Is there a backup?
  • Could you put out a small fire quickly and stop it from spreading?

Escape route questions to consider

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  • Have you planned escape routes?
  • Have you made sure people will be able to safely find their way out, even at night if necessary?
  • Does all your safety equipment work?
  • Will people know what to do and how to use the equipment?

4. Record

Keep a record of any fire hazards and what you have done to reduce or remove them.

If you have five or more staff or have a licence then you must keep a record of what you have found and what you have done. Even if your premises are smaller than that, a record is a good idea.

  • Have you got a record of fire hazards and what you’ve done to reduce or remove them?

Planning

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You must have a clear plan of how to prevent fire and keep people safe in case of fire. If you share a building with others, you need to coordinate your plan with them.

  • Have you got a clear plan of how to prevent fire and keep people safe in case of a fire?
  • Have you coordinated your plan with anyone you share your building with?

Training

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You need to make sure your staff know what to do in case of fire and, if necessary, are trained for their roles.

Answer yes or no to these questions.

  • Have you made a record of what you have found and the action you have taken?
  • Have you planned what everyone will do if there is a fire?
  • Have you discussed the plan with all staff?
  • Have you informed and trained people (practised a fire drill and recorded how it went)?
  • Have you nominated staff to put in place your fire prevention measures, and trained them?
  • Have you made sure everyone can fulfil their role?
  • Have you informed temporary staff?
  • Have you consulted others who share a building with you and included them in your plan?

5. Review

Keep your risk assessment under regular review. The risks may change over time.

If you identify significant changes in risk or make any significant changes to your plan, you must tell others who share the premises and where appropriate re-train staff.

Review questions

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Answer yes or no to these questions.

  • Have you made any changes to the building inside or out?
  • Have you had a fire or near-miss?
  • Have you changed work practices?
  • Have you begun to store chemicals or dangerous substances?
  • Have you significantly changed your stock or stock levels?
  • Have you planned your next fire drill?

This checklist will help you think about areas you need to include in your fire risk assessment. Once you’ve completed it you may want to visit our guide on how to write a risk assessment and how to find a risk assessor.