Business safety - frequently asked questions

Fire alarm testingOn this page you will find a list of frequently asked questions covering fire safety for businesses.

If you don't find what you are looking for, please visit the business safety section of this website or contact a member of our team.

Do I need to test my emergency lighting?

Yes it should be tested once per month to ensure that it is working and the findings of the test recorded in a fire log book.  It should also be tested once a year by a competent person.

Do I need to test my fire alarm?

You should test your alarm once per week, testing a different call point each time. The result of this test should be recorded.

We have a free downloadable log book to record these findings if you need somewhere to record it. 

Your alarm must be tested twice per year by a competent alarm engineer.

Do I need Fire Extinguishers?

You should look at the appropriate guide for your type of business premises and judge the appropriate type of extinguisher based upon the risks. In general though you should provide one fire extinguisher for every 200m2 with at least 2 per floor.

If it is a very small premises occupying one floor then one extinguisher appropriate to the level of risk may be ok. Guidance should be sought from a competent fire extinguisher provider.

More information about fire extinguishers

Do I need a fire risk assessment?

Yes. You must protect yourself and anyone else in the vicinity of your business from fire. To do this you must assess the risks and make general fire precautions.
 
You are not required, however, to record the findings of your assessment unless you employ five or more people; hold a license issued by another authority, or; are told to do so by the Fire Authority in a Notice.

More information about fire risk assessments

Where does the Fire Safety Order apply?

The Fire Safety Order applies to virtually all premises and covers nearly every type of building, structure, and open space.  

For example: 

  • offices and shops

  • premises that provide care

  • community halls

  • common areas of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

  • pubs, clubs and restaurants 

  • schools

  • tents and marquees

  • hotels and hostels

  • factories and warehouses.

It does not apply to domestic premises occupied by a single family.

More information about the Fire Safety Order

What exactly are my duties under the Fire Safety Order?

You must:

  • take general fire precautions - as is reasonable

  • carry out a fire risk assessment to identify the general fire precautions

  • apply the principles of prevention and implement fire safety measures

  • plan, organise, control, monitor and review fire safety measures

  • eliminate or reduce risks

  • ensure premises are equipped with fire fighting equipment

  • ensure premises have fire detectors and alarms

  • ensure premises have safe emergency routes and exits

  • ensure premises have safe procedures to follow

  • ensure premises have additional measures for dangerous substances

  • maintain fire safety equipment and devices

  • provide fire safety information to employees

  • provide fire safety training

More information about the Fire Safety Order

What are the main requirements of the Fire Safety Order?

The Responsible Person is required to: 

  • carry out or nominate someone to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment identifying the risks and hazards 

  • consider who may be at risk

  • eliminate or reduce the risk from fire as far is it is reasonably practical and provide general fire precautions to deal with any residual risk

  • take additional measures where flammable or explosive materials are used or stored

  • create a plan to deal with any emergency and in most cases document your findings, and

  • review the findings.

More information about the Fire Safety Order

I run a business out of my small workshop. I am self employed, does the Fire Safety Order apply to me?

Yes. You must protect yourself and anyone else in the vicinity of your business from fire. To do this you must assess the risks and make general fire precautions.
 
You are not required, however, to record the findings of your assessment unless you employ five or more people; hold a license issued by another authority, or; are told to do so by the Fire Authority in a Notice.

I have a small pub, I don’t have any staff and do all the work myself, does the Fire Safety Order apply to me?

Yes. You are responsible not only for yourself, but also the people that enter your premises. You must ensure that there are adequate fire safety arrangements. As you hold a liquor licence, you must also record the findings in a fire risk assessment.

I have a shop/office/business. Can someone from the fire service come and check for fire safety?

We can give advice on how to comply with your duties under the Fire Safety Order, however we cannot fulfil these duties on your behalf.  If you are still unsure, it may be worth employing a Competent Person to conduct the risk assessment for you.

Do I need to inform or get permission from the fire service to put on a public firework display?

Not from the fire service as events such as this are licensed by the Local Authority and as such contact should be made with them. Sales of fireworks are regulated by Trading Standards.

More about fireworks (opens in new window)

Do I need a licence or permit from the fire service for my event?

No, although you may be required to obtain permission or a Temporary Event Notice from your Local Authority Licensing team.

Can you advise on the best place to purchase fire doors, extinguishers or other fire safety equipment?

No. As a regulatory authority, we are not allowed to recommend or endorse any particular business or provider, but there are many companies who can supply this kind of equipment. The British Woodworking Federation can provide information on this subject for you.

More information about fire doors

Do I need to notify you about building works or plans for new buildings?

No. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are Statutory Consultees, which means that we are consulted by the Local Authority Building Control or Approved Inspector responsible for signing off the construction work.
 
We are notified of all building work through this process, so you only need to deal with one point of contact.

Do you run training courses on fire safety - for example use of extinguishers or how to complete a fire risk assessment?

As a regulatory authority, we are not allowed to provide training or conduct risk assessments, as this could lead to a conflict of interest, we do however run several information seminars every year, please contact us for information.

I have a concern about a fire risk in a business or flats - who do I tell?

Please contact your local fire safety office with as much  information as you can.
 
Our fire safety inspectors will investigate or give advice as appropriate.

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