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FAQ's

Who should service and maintain my fire extinguishers?
Only certified and insured fire safety professionals should maintain and service your fire extinguishers. They will be able to provide the proper tools and adhere to the manufacturer’s servicing instructions. They should also be able to supply replacement parts if necessary as well as recommend any fire safety equipment that you do not have at present.
I recently bought a premises that is being developed into serviced offices. Am I, as the owner, responsible for fire safety in the entire building or do the individual business owners need to take care of their own needs?

Under the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003, you, as the person in control of the building, are responsible for the safety of all persons on the premises, which includes putting in place adequate fire safety equipment. An amendment to the Fire Services Acts 2003 expanded the duties of care of those in control of a building like yours – you must proactively promote good fire safety practice and procedures. The Act now states that it is the duty of every person having control over the premises to take all reasonable measures to guard against the outbreak of fire, to provide reasonable fire safety measures, and to prepare and provide appropriate fire safety procedures for ensuring the safety of persons on such premises.

Under law, an authorised fire authority officer may serve a closure notice if, in his or her opinion, that the safety of people on the premises is at risk. Therefore, it is wise that you consult a professional fire safety firm to carry out an audit on the premises and source the equipment required.

How many fire alarms should I have in my home and how do I know when they need to be replaced?

You should have at least one alarm on each floor of your home. They should be fitted between sleeping and living areas in the hall and landings. For extra safety, it is advisable to fit separate alarms in the kitchen area and in rooms used by vulnerable people.

If your alarms are over 10 years old then they should be replaced. For maintenance purposes, make sure the battery is working by testing it every week and ensure that the covers are not clogged with dust or dirt – vacuum all of your alarms regularly so they are in good working order.

What should a fire escape plan involve?

Your fire escape plan should, first and foremost, get everyone out of the building quickly in an emergency. When drawing up the plan, make sure there is provision made for keeping all doorways and other exits clear.

In business premises, fire alarms should be located at strategic points so that anyone can raise the alarm should they need to. If you are making a plan for fire in your home, make sure that whoever comes across the fire initially is aware that their first responsibility is to warn others who are on the premises. Make provision for assisting young children and older people out of the building.

Arrange a meeting point at least 50 metres away from the fire and call the emergency services on 999 or 112. Do not re-enter the building under any circumstances.

If anyone finds themselves inside a building which is ablaze, they should be advised to crawl along the floor to the nearest exit – the air is cleaner at floor level. Also, doors should be checked before opening – warm doors mean the fire is on the other side. Only open doors that are required to escape from the building.

All occupants should be aware of the fire plan and the necessary procedures. Practice your plan as often as you can.

I own and run a large bar and restaurant in Dublin. How many fire extinguishers do I need?

The answer really depends on the size of your premises. In instances such as this, a common mistake business owners make is focusing their attention on the kitchen area where fire is more likely to occur. However, by neglecting or failing to provide adequate safety equipment in public areas you are breaking the law.

Many owners of establishments like yours are also conscious of aesthetics and obstructions caused by fire safety equipment in public areas. However, to resolve these issues, a wide variety of well-finished storage units are available.

Your fire safety consultant can advise you of your needs and options on storage during your fire safety audit.

Do I need a Fire Safety Certificate for my new building?

Yes. Two sets of regulations with regard to fire safety certificates have been issued under the Building Control Act 1990. The first, the Building Regulations 1997, sets the standards for building works, while the second, the Building Control Regulations 2007, puts in place the required procedures to control building works, including details on fire safety certificates.

You can find out more about your responsibilities regarding fire safety certificates here.