Sutton businesses are being urged by Wallington and Sutton Firefighters to ensure that they have sufficient plans in place to cope if their business is hit by a fire whether its caused by an accident or deliberately.
Although it is rare Sutton firefighters are keen to ensure that the borough’s traders have taken all reasonable steps to reduce the dangers of an incident which could put them out of business.
CM Robinson from Wallington Fire Station states that if you are in control of any part of a commercial premises you are under a legal obligation to carry out a detailed fire risk assessment to identifying risks and hazards in the premises. A fire risk assessment is essential in keeping your premises safe for everyone.

There are five steps to carrying out a risk assessment

Selecting a Risk Assessor
Your fire risk assessment has to be carried out by a competent person with relevant fire safety knowledge and experience.
A guide to help you chose the right Fire Risk Assessor has been put together by the  Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council to help premises comply with the applicable fire safety legislation.
CM Robinson further adds that more useful advice and guidance can be found at:
http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/selecting-a-risk-assessor.asp
Identify the fire hazards
For fire to occur there must be a source of ignition, fuel and oxygen. If all three are present and in close proximity, then the fire risk could increase as a result.
Your fire risk assessment should list all potential sources of ignition and fuels that are present in your premises.
Identify people at risk
Fire risk assessment in relation to people is broken down into four main areas. All four of these areas should be considered during your fire safety assessment.
•    The likely speed of growth and spread of any fire, heat and smoke
•    The number of people in the area including visitors and members of the public
•    Arrangements for giving warning to people if a fire occurs
•    How they will make their escape – this area needs to take into account people’s mobility
Evaluating the risks
Once the hazards and the people at risk have been identified, you must assess the effect of any particular hazards, taking account of any existing control measures that are already in place.
When your evaluation is complete you must decide if any further control measures are needed to reduce the risk to safe level.
Record your findings
You must record the significant findings of your risk assessment, together with details of any people that are at particular risk, where:
•    A licence under an enactment is in force.
•    An Alterations Notice under the Fire Safety Order requires it.
•    You are an employer and have five or more employees.

Review and revise
Reviewing and revising the risk assessment
Remember your fire risk assessment is a continuous process. It must be monitored and audited as changes to your premises are made. New and existing control measures should be maintained to make sure they are still working effectively.

You don’t need to amend your assessment for every trivial change that occurs, but the impact of any significant change should be considered.
“Frequently businesses which are understandably focussed on a range of day to day events can let the assessment of risk to fire can slip down the list. It is vital that businesses of any size take time out from their working day to make sure they are fully prepared to prevent the risk of fire,” said a spokesperson.