Fire Risk Assessment

fire safety discussion between a local shop manager and members of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

A fire risk assessment should help you identify all the fire hazards and risks in your premises.

You will then be able to decide whether the risks identified are acceptable or whether you need to take steps to reduce or control them.

A risk assessment should be carried out by someone who has had sufficient training, and has good experience and/or knowledge of fire safety.

View advice on choosing a competent Risk Assessor

Fire risk assessment form

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has produced a blank risk assessment form to help small and medium businesses comply with the requirement of having a fire risk assessment. Please read the introduction carefully for advice and guidance before use:

Fire risk assessment form (new window, Word Document 410KB)

Fire risk assessment form (new window, PDF 45KB)

Five steps to a risk assessment

There are five steps to carrying out a risk assessment.

Please use the links below to find out more about each of the five steps:

Step 1 - Identify people at risk

  • Have you identified who is at risk?

  • Have you identified why they are at risk?

Step 2 - Identify fire hazards

  • Have you identified all potential fuel sources?

  • Have you identified all potential ignition sources?

  • Have you identified all potential sources of oxygen?

Step 3 - Evaluate the risk

  • Are your fire safety measures are adequate?

  • Are regular fire drills carried out?

  • Are staff given appropriate regular training and instruction?

  • Have you taken steps to reduce sources that may fuel a fire?

  • Is action taken to rectify problems discovered during fire drills?

  • Have you evaluated the risk to persons in the premises from fire?

  • Have you taken steps to reduce sources of ignition which may cause a fire?

  • Are the persons using the premises aware of the emergency fire action plan?

  • Have you taken steps to reduce the supply of oxygen to a fire which may start?

  • Do staff and others know what is expected of them in terms of reducing the risk from fire?

  • Means for detecting a fire

  • Can the means of warning be clearly heard and understood by everyone?

  • Are the means of detecting a fire of the right type and in appropriate locations?

  • Is there an emergency fire action plan which sets out the action to take in event of fire? 

  • If the fire-detection system is electrically powered, does it have a back-up power supply?

  • Will the existing means of detecting a fire ensure it is discovered quickly enough for the alarm to be raised in time for all the occupants to escape safely?

  • Fire Extinguishers

  • Are the extinguishers visible or indicated by signs?

  • Have you taken steps to prevent the misuse of extinguishers?

  • Are there enough extinguishers sited throughout the premises?

  • Means for fighting fires: Are the fire extinguishers provided suitable for the premises?

  • Are the right types of extinguishers located close to the fire hazards and  can users get to them without exposing themselves to risk?

  • Escape Routes

  • Have you assessed the potential for fire, heat and smoke to spread uncontrolled through the building and acted on the possibility that people may be unable to use the escape routes?

  • Are the existing escape routes adequate for the numbers and type of people that may need to use them, e.g. members of the public, including those with mobility difficulties?

  • Are the exits in the right place and do the escape routes lead as directly as possible to a place of safety?

  • If there is a fire, could all available exits be affected or will at least one route from any part of the premises remain available?

  • Are the escape routes and final exits kept clear at all times? Do the doors on escape routes open in the direction of escape?

  • Can all final exit doors be opened easily and immediately if there is an emergency?

  • Will everybody be able to safely use the escape routes from your premises in safety and in a reasonable amount of time?

  • Are the people who work in the building aware of the importance of maintaining the integrity of the escape routes, e.g. by ensuring that fire doors are not wedged open and that combustible materials are not stored within escape routes?

  • Escape route lighting

  • Do you have back-up power supplies for your escape route lighting?

  • Are all your escape routes covered by a suitable form of lighting? Will there always be sufficient lighting to safely use escape routes?

  • Signs

  • Are escape routes and exits indicated by appropriate signs?

  • Are you maintaining all signs and notices so that they continue to be correct, legible and understood?

  • Are you maintaining signs that have been provided for the information of the fire and rescue service, such as those indicating the location of water suppression stop valves and the storage of hazardous substances?

  • Have you provided notices such as those giving information on how to operate security devices on exit doors, those indicating doors enclosing fire hazards that must be kept shut and fire action notices for staff and other people?

  • Tests and maintenance

  • Is there a regular check on all the fire-fighting equipment? 

  • Is there a regular check of the fire detection and alarm system?

  • Do you regularly check all fire doors and escape routes and associated lighting and signs?

  • Are those who test and maintain the equipment competent to do so? Do you keep a log book to record tests and maintenance?

Step 4 - Record your findings

  • Have you recorded the significant findings of your assessment?

  • Are your records available for inspection by the enforcing authority?

  • Have you recorded what you have done to remove or reduce the risk?

Step 5 - Review and revise

  • Do you review your fire safety risk assessment when there is any reason to suspect that your assessment is no longer valid or there has been a significant change in your premises that has affected the fire risk or your fire safety measures?

  • Having reviewed your fire safety risk assessment, are the fire safety measures still adequate?

Free tools and templates

Please use the following link to access some free tools and templates to help you with Fire Risk Management: 

Free tools and templates