How good is your fire safety strategy?

The Fire Safety Order has been creating consternation amongst organisations that have premises that are in more than one fire authority area – and are having to deal with different authorities’ approaches and targets.

In fact, there can be additional challenges when there are also different local authorities – for instance in London the London Fire & Rescue Service operates with 33 local authorities in the area it covers!

If your organisation is trying to keep all the various authorities happy and getting conflicting messages, it’s going to make having a single fire safety strategy a bit of a challenge!

Part of the problem is that some inspecting officers don’t understand the strategic requirements of your organisation and are simply picking up fire safety issues that require attention and demanding action. They may not take into account the fact that, whilst these issues have not yet been resolved, they have been put into the strategic plan to improve the premises portfolio – it’s just that they’re down for a later stage in the plan.

Trying to explain this to some inspecting officers can be hard work – and there are several organisations who have received what looks like an enforcement notice (but may not be). If this happens to you – here’s two key tips:

  • Read the small print carefully – it may look like an enforcement notice, but the small print can tell you it’s not!
  • Get expert advice – don’t panic, lose sleep or start putting expensive work in progress without being absolutely sure it’s necessary. Even in the face of an enforcement notice, it may be possible to appeal against it.
  • The Fire Safety Order requires you to manage your fire safety issues – but inspecting officers may be trying to micro-manage on your behalf. Don’t let them allow you to take your eye off the ball and sacrifice your strategic plan to respond to unnecessary demands for instant action.