Fire risk assessment

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.

From 1st October 2023, section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 brings reform to the Fire Safety Order 2005 and will require all non-domestic premises to keep a written and recorded record of the Fire Risk Assessment that has been undertaken and record their Fire Safety arrangements for ongoing monitoring of Fire Safety, which may be in the form of a policy outlining procedures (actions) taken.

Five steps to risk assessment

There are five steps to carrying out a risk assessment. Click the dropdown boxes 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?


  • 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 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?

Choosing a competent fire risk assessor

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that if you are the Responsible Person of premises you must make sure you carry out a fire risk assessment, although you can choose to appoint a competent risk assessor to carry out a fire risk assessment on your behalf.   However, you will still be responsible in law for meeting the requirements of the order.

The responsible person must not appoint a person to assist them with making or reviewing an assessment under article 9 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 unless that person is competent.

A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of article 9 where the person has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable the person properly to assist in making or reviewing the assessment.

The Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council, under the auspices of the Fire Sector Federation has published a Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor.  The guide provides advice and information for Responsible Persons when considering appointing a specialist to undertake the Fire Risk Assessment and provide fire safety advice. The guide provides advice on finding a specialist person or body, and identifies the certificating bodies that operate registration schemes.

Risk Assessment tools and templates

Government new 5 steps to risk assessment guide:

Fire safety risk assessment - 5 step checklist

The following guides have been published by the Secretary of State under Article 50 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) to assist responsible persons in meeting their duties under the FSO.

A guide to fire safety law for those responsible for safety in small non-domestic premises:

This guide gives simple and practical advice to assist persons with responsibilities for fire safety in in small non-domestic premises that have simple layouts, low fire risk, with limited fire hazards and a small number of employees, customers, and visitors.

A guide to making your small non-domestic premises safe from fire

A guide to compliance with fire safety law for those responsible for safety in small paying-guest-accommodation:

This guide gives simple and practical advice to assist persons with responsibilities for fire safety in paying guest accommodation with simple layouts, limited fire risks and a small number of bedrooms designated as guest sleeping accommodation for short-term lets, such as small bed and breakfast, guest houses and self-catering accommodation.

A guide to making your small paying-guest-accommodation safe from fire

A guide to compliance with fire safety law for those responsible for fire safety in small blocks of flat:

This guide gives simple and practical advice to assist persons with responsibilities for fire safety in the common parts of small blocks of flats (limited to 3 storeys), as well as the building’s structure, external walls and the doors between the flats and common parts.

 A guide to making your small blocks of flats safe from fire

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

Free tools and templates

Last updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2023