Health & Safety: Fire Safety Compliance Essentials

Health & Safety: Fire Safety Compliance Essentials

Posted  9th March 2022

This session focused on how the law applies to your school and fire risk assessments; policy requirements and staff responsibilities; training expectations and requirements for all staff; and preventative maintenance and testing.

How the Law Applies to Your School and Fire Risk Assessments

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order RR(FS) requirements:

  • A competent person to complete a fire risk assessment (FRA) to clearly evaluate the risks and the required control measures to manage those risks. NB: This is usually an external person with the relevant experience and qualifications to carry out the FRA.
  • A responsible person in relation to a workplace is defined as the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control (usually the Trust, Board or Local Authority and the Headteacher). The responsible person ensures deficiencies identified in the fire risk assessment are resolved and fire compliance is achieved.
  • Control measures in place to prevent fires from starting or the spread of smoke or flame.
  • Control measures in place to ensure all occupants evacuate quickly and safely to a place of ultimate safety (Occupants meaning staff, pupils, visitors, and contractors).




    Policy Requirements and Staff Responsibilities

     All schools must have a fire safety policy in place that has:
    • Statement of intent on how you will comply with the RR(FS) Order
    • Detailed sections for each level of responsibility to include:
      • Employer/Proprietor/Trust/ LA if you are a community school
      • Headteacher
      • SBM/ Bursar
      • Premises Manager
      • Head Fire warden and trained fire wardens
      • teaching staff
      • students/pupils
      • contractors (catering, cleaning and other work)
      • Fire management arrangements in place including evacuation procedures and assisted evacuation (both general and personal evacuation plans), termly fire drills, maintenance arrangements and building information.

      Training Expectations and Requirements for All Staff

      Training should reflect the level of responsibility the member of staff has:

      • All staff provided with fire safety training (e-learning is suitable) annually.
      • Responsible person, Headteacher/SLT/Premises Manager, etc. must complete fire management training for detail on compliance responsibilities, maintenance requirements and legal responsibilities.
      • Fire wardens have additional responsibilities that must be formalised with the provision of warden training for their role.
      • Specialist training – any member of staff that are involved with specific hazards within the school, e.g. science, D&T, food technology, in-house catering teams may require further training.

      Preventative Maintenance and Testing - Should it be Contracted or Kept In-house?

      Local decisions can be made on some tasks whilst others require specialist contractors to complete preventative maintenance. Any duties that remain in-house will mean that the nominated staff should be provided with relevant training for that duty.

      You can review what competencies you have within your teams and what capacity they have for routine testing etc.

      Here is a list of checks and services and recommended timeframes:

      Competent contractor servicing: 

      • 6-monthly Fire alarm and automatic detection systems 
      • Annual firefighting equipment
      • Annual dry risers
      • Annual fire dampers
      • Annual fire curtains or shutter
      • Annual suppression systems
      • Annual fire hydrants
      • 5-year structural survey of external escape stairs

      NB: Remedial works to any of the above and emergency lighting systems require a competent contractor.

        In-house testing and checks schools can do themselves and record in the fire logbook:

        • Daily fire safety checks (Including escape routes/alarm panel/signage/fire doors),
        • Weekly alarm and call point tests rotating across all MCPs
        • Weekly firefighting equipment visual inspections
        • Weekly fire door visual inspections (Closers, vision panels, hinges, seals)
        • Weekly emergency voice communication system tests (Refuge points)
        • Monthly emergency generator tests (Can be contractors)
        • Monthly emergency light flick tests (Can be contractors)
        • Monthly evacuation equipment checks
        • 6-monthly visual inspection of dry risers (Can be contractors)

          Key Points to Take Away: 

          1. Ensure the FRA is in place, valid and completed by a competent person.

          2. Your school must have a ratified Fire Safety Policy.

          3. Implement a training program that defines the different layers of staff and the types of training they will receive.

          4. Keep on top of your school’s Preventative Maintenance Program.

          Helpful Links to Training:

          The Health and Safety Service is providing CPD accredited Fire Safety training courses. Upcoming dates and links to book are below:

          Fire Management in Schools - 8th June

          Virtual or On-Site Training: 

          Fire Safety in Schools

          Fire Safety Management in Schools

          Fire Warden Training in Schools

          To review Judicium’s forthcoming sofa sessions please click here.

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