Fire Safety Risk Assessments
Fire Safety Risk Assessments, FSRA's, are important.
The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 require Dutyholders to carry out FRSA's and put in place any safety measures required to make premises safe.
The Scottish Government website and the Scottish fire and Rescue Services, SFRS, website are good sources of information on what needs to be done.
The Scottish Government defines five steps in the FRSA process;-
Step 1 - Identify people at risk
Step 2 - Identify fire hazards
Step 3 – Evaluate the risk and decide if existing fire safety measures are adequate
Step 4 - Record fire safety risk assessment information
Step 5 - Review of fire safety risk assessment
A Fire Safety Risk Assessment;-
is the procedure performed to make a list of risks and comment on them,
it is also the record document produced and far from being only a survey of conditions is also a statement of actions,
can be performed by someone other than the tenant or duty holder,
identifies potential fire hazards, such as items and their conditions and situations,
considers the likelihood of a hazard happening,
judges the importance of a hazard in relation to its likelihood and so registers this importance as a risk,
lists all the risks assessed.
the list notes the condition or level of the risks,
the risks have any actions needed also listed.
What Use is an FSRA ?
It is important to understand that the FSRA is not even half useful, not even half used UNLESS tenants read and become involved with it.
The assessment is a technical document of conformity. It is part of the background that a maintenance team or supplier of premises has fulfilled to ensure that a home is safe to some basic extent from fire.
Is that good enough? Perhaps not really, perhaps not at all good enough. The FSRA should be be seen as two things, as being a basic minimum and also as a very useful tool.
In the world of documents, there is the service provider, agent or landlord on the one side and there is the client or tenant on the other.
When a fire happens, it is the tenant who is most likely to be nearest the flames. The tenant is in the real world, not the world of documents. So relying on a provider and client defined world is missing the point of safety to a large degree.
Dutyholders and What to do with an FSRA
Involvement with FSRA's should be preached. It is not.
The dutyholder is the person held responsible for control of premises, this may be the tenant, owner, agent or maintenance person at a property.
Paragraph or Subsection (1) of Section 54 in chapter 1 of part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, defines as follows, "Where a person has control to any extent of relevant premises the person shall, to that extent, comply with subsection (2)." and then in subsection (2) orders for an assessment to be done and measures taken for safety from fires.
As a basic minimum, it ticks a certain safety box for someone to get the assessment done, but because the term "control" is not explicitly defined, the aspect of tenant involvement is not obvious.
Do you want to rely ONLY on someone else and their control for YOUR safety? Are you being pathetic if there is anything you could be reasonably doing for yourself?
For a tenant the FSRA is not rocket science, but covers basic sensible safety precatiuons that can be checked over and become familiar.
If there is anything in an FSRA that needs explaining or is confusing, ASK someone, there are lots of contact details in the websites listed and the forms readily available to get help and advice.
A shortlist of many links;-
Carrying out and recording a FSRA, a general document covering most cases
Sottish Government specimen FSRA forms
SFRS householder page
SFRS home visit page
Fire (Scotland) Act 2005
Tenants are the people most at risk in their homes and while FSRA's are important, tenants should themselves really make effort and take part in their own safety education, familiarity and precautions.
A home visit from fire officers can only be a good initiative and is highly recommended.
The officers are very helpful, well informed and have the people living in a property's best interest at heart.