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Fire Safety Risk Assessment: What It Is and Why You Need One

Annual Fire Safety Statement

NSW legislation ( Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000) requires that every business premises and every commercially owned building be subject to a regular fire safety risk assessment and by submitting their “annual fire safety statement” it is a declaration by or on behalf of a building owner that an accredited fire protection practitioner (fire safety) (APFS) which means:

A fire safety statement from the building owner(s) that the fire safety measures that apply to a building have been checked and continue to perform to the relevant standard. This assists in demonstrating that building owner(s) are complying with the requirement that they maintain fire safety measures in accordance with clause 182 of the Regulation. As such, the Regulation requires the annual fire safety statement to be issued by or on behalf of the owner of an affected building.

Lack Of Knowledge is Not a Defence

One of the most common causes of fire is simple lack of knowledge. If a person or company does not know how to spot danger signs in advance, places where fire is more likely to occur and so on, then the premises to which those people or companies are attached stands at a much higher risk of fire. The fire safety risk assessment (which must be carried out by an accredited fire protection practitioner at once a year) identifies these danger areas in advance. – and so gives a company plenty of time to address them before a fire happens, rather than having to do the same thing in the aftermath of an event that can cause huge damage and loss to both lives and property. No two buildings are the same – so having a trained fire safety officer conduct a proper risk assessment on every individual building a company uses is the only way that company can be sure that their preventive strategies are in as good order as possible.

Not All Fit The Same Mold

Some fires are impossible to prevent. In these cases, the fire safety risk assessment addresses the other figure that can be reduced by a little foreknowledge: the percentage of damage and loss of life caused by the average blaze. In the event of a fire that cannot be prevented, the majority of people die because they don’t know what to do or where to go when fire breaks out. A proper fire safety risk assessment will evaluate not just the risks to a building in terms of fire danger, but also the risks to its occupants in the event that a fire breaks out. That means conducting a proper survey of the measures that are put in place to safely get people away from the building in the event of a fire – and of the controls that are in place to limit a fire. The assessment will note number and condition of fire doors, location and type of fire fighting equipment, and ease of escape for all usual occupants of a building.

These two things alone – the identification of potential hazards and the streamlining of fire evacuation procedures – are enough to outline the real value of the fire safety risk assessment. Fires happen – and when they happen to a building and to people that are unprepared, they kill, fast… When they happen to buildings and people that have been trained, that are protected by acted-on recommendations from a fire safety risk assessment, they take far fewer lives and destroy a much smaller amount of property. The risk assessment is the law – and the law is there for everyone’s protection.

To find out more regarding your obligations to provide an annual fire safety statement contact one of our specialist team today!!

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