Fire Safety in Historic Buildings

Author - Emily Weekes |
Publish Date - February 3, 2020

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to most premises in the UK, including churches, council buildings, offices, hotels and restaurants. The fire safety of a location must be managed by the Responsible Person and maintained by a competent fire safety services company such as Churches Fire & Security.

As part of this Order, an appropriate and sufficient fire risk assessment (FRA) is required. This assessment determines the likelihood of a fire starting and how those in and around the areas would be affected should one take place.

FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS

Fire Safety in Historic Buildings
Churches Fire & Security servicing fire equipment at Luton Town Hall

In historic buildings, it is particularly important to ensure a suitable FRA is carried out and that a fire safety plan is in place. This category of premises comes with its own challenges with access areas, preservation orders and hazards.

When a fire safety consultant (also known as a fire risk assessor) visits a historical site, they will make sure that accurate building plans have already been provided. This should be readily available and will allow the consultant to accurately plan their FRA steps.

Identifying areas of fire risk in and around the site, such as electricals, fires, cooking and heating equipment, waste, smoking areas, light sources, chemicals and flammables, the FRA provides guidance on how to proceed safely to the Responsible Person or site manager. It may be that items will need to be immediately removed or dealt with to eliminate the risk of a fire occurring.

It’s good practice to check the electricals on site regularly, not simply in the case of the FRA taking place or being updated. Ensuring good working order on a fire risk hazard will help to preserve the property for the future.

FIRE SAFETY SERVICES

Fire-fighting equipment such as extinguishers and fire blankets are easily placed in sites of historical significance. Following fire safety training, they are simple to use in the case of small, manageable fires, for example a frying pan fire.

Fire Safety in Historical Buildings

In the cases of emergency lighting, fire alarms, sprinklers, fire doors and suppression systems, it can require in-depth analysis of the premises, so as to not adversely affect the status or foundations.

Churches Fire & Security technicians, support staff and safety consultants are acutely aware of the requirements of historic sites in relation to fire protection. We are able to provide advice and specific services to ensure the integrity of the premises is not negatively affected, while helping customers to ensure they meet the required standards of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Staff will need to be trained on the correct usage of fire extinguishers, will need to know what to do in an emergency and how to safely evacuate in the event of a fire.

When the appropriate fire safety measures are in place, it’s crucially important to maintain them. Churches Fire & Security work in partnership with many industries across the UK, including sites of historical interest such as stately homes, hotels and council buildings. We will advise when servicing visits should be arranged, if any parts require replacing and if any upgrades to the equipment is required, for example following renovation works.

The London Fire Brigade has provided fire safety guidance notes in relation to heritage and buildings of special interest, available to view here.

To discuss any special circumstances for your business premises and the fire safety precautions required, contact the experienced Churches Fire & Security team today.

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