Fire risk assessment

A fire risk assessment is a process conducted by a competent person to identify fire hazards and evaluate the risks to people, property and assets. It is a crucial part of the management of any company and takes as many precautions as possible to prevent the risk of fire.

It looks at whether existing fire precautions are adequate, and assists the assessor in deciding whether further fire precautions are necessary. Firebrand SA can conduct any fire risk assessment that you require and make recommendations on further measures. 

The fire assessor 

The person conducting the fire risk assessment is a person who has sufficient knowledge, experience and training to conduct the role. It is a specialised task and the choice of who carries it out is important as they conduct the assessment and document the findings and recommendations. 

Fire risk assessment

The necessity of a fire risk assessment

Apart from the legal requirement to ensure your premises is compliant with existing regulations, it is in the best interest of any company to ensure that fire risks are minimised. 

The consequences of fires are catastrophic and can lead to loss of jobs, lives, damage to surrounding buildings and pollution. They can also lead to serious legal consequences including jail for management found guilty of offences.

An example of compliance requirements: In South Africa, SANS 10400 Part K4 deals with walls and how they behave in a fire and states that any cladding must be certified, and inspections may need specialist knowledge.

Responsibility for Fire Safety

Fire safety is the responsibility of the ‘responsible person,’ the owner or occupier of the premises, or more often an organisation in which case senior management is responsible. 

They may delegate tasks to a person nominated to monitor or control the management of fire safety, but the ultimate responsibility rests with them and a relevant fire safety program should be in place. 

The responsibility to conduct a fire risk assessment, conducted by a suitably qualified person lies with them.

Fire risk assessment

The fire risk assessment 

A fire risk assessment identifies the hazards present within the premises. Threats include sources of ignition, like naked flames, heaters and cooking equipment, sources of fuel and sources of oxygen. 

Other considerations that a fire risk assessment may take into account are structural features such as ducts and flues, penetrations of fire compartments, open roof spaces and excessively long escape routes.

The risk assessment must identify people who are at risk, should an incident occur. For example, employees, members of the public, outside contractors and people external to the premises. 

It must evaluate risk and, once identified, create actions for the responsible person to undertake to eliminate or reduce the risks that have been identified. For example, identifying risks from combustible material and ensuring they are stored away in such a way that they are removed from sources of ignition. 

The fire risk assessment outcomes 

Findings are recorded, and if required an emergency plan and training are provided. The findings must be shared with the relevant persons and a copy kept on site so that the responsible person can action the plan. 

A Fire Risk Assessment from Firebrand

A fire risk assessment from Firebrand encompasses a comprehensive approach based on the following South African guidelines & standards:

  • Insurance Schedule/Policy Working
  • National Building Regulations
  • SANS Codes Applicable to Fire Safety, Security, Lightning & Extraction Systems
  • National Building Regulations & Building Standards Act, Act 103 of 1977
  • National Veld and Forest Fire Act, 1998 Emergency Services By-laws
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • Google Maps & GIS Systems – Accepted International Standards such as NFPA

We compile a risk matrix, referencing legislation and good practice, for each assessed area documenting findings supported by photos. Recommendations are prioritised based on maximum risk enabling sequential remedial action. 

Core Property Inspection Scope includes:

  • General Building Condition
  • Occupancy Identification & Activities
  • Fire Prevention & Control
  • Safety Concerns & Control
  • Utility Management

Apart from scheduled inspections by the responsible person or the person designated by management, there is no frequency by which a fire risk assessment should be conducted, but it should be reviewed and updated regularly. Talk to Firebrand about a free risk assessment.