This week, as part of my fire safety blog series, I’m looking into the Fire Safety Log book. If you’ve never heard of a fire safety log book, you may well be wondering what one is, what they’re for & whether you need one. So let’s start from first principals.
Table of contents
- What is a Fire Safety Log Book?
- Legal requirements.
- Escape Routes
- Fire Alarm and Automatic Fire Detection Systems
- Fire Fighting Equipment
- Emergency Lighting
- Fire doors
- Records of training and fire drills
- Our thoughts
- Related links
What is a Fire Safety Log Book?
Put simply, the fire safety log book is a loose leaf record of everything to do with the buildings fire safety systems. It must be available at your non-domestic premises, at all times that you’re open for business & should remain on the premises at all times. Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 200, the log book must also be available for inspection by an Officer of the Fire & Rescue Service while they undertake an inspection of your premises. It should also be available to view by relevant employees or any service engineer as required.
I was recently asked whether the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 only applied to businesses over a certain size. Well, the simplest way to determine whether the Order applies to you is by looking at the Order itself and the interpretations that it includes. It states that;
“In this Order [a] “workplace” means any premises or parts of premises, not being domestic premises, used for the purposes of an employer’s undertaking and which are made available to an employee of the employer as a place of work and includes—
(a) any place within the premises to which such employee has access while at work; and
(b) any room, lobby, corridor, staircase, road, or other place—
(i) used as a means of access to or egress from that place of work; or
(ii) where facilities are provided for use in connection with that place of work,
other than a public road;”
So from this it’s pretty clear that unless you work from home or a vehicle, your workplace falls under the remit of the Order.
Now technically there is no legal requirement for you to have a fire safety log book, but the Responsible Person does need to be able to prove to the inspecting Officer that they’ve been undertaking regular checks of the fire safety systems, etc. They also need to be able to prove this to a Health and Safety/Environmental Health Inspector should they ask to see it. So it just makes sense to have all this information in one place.
Whenever there is an inspection, testing or maintenance of any of the fire safety items within a premises, the log book must be updated. The fire safety log book should record regular checks and record findings on the following:
- ensuring that all escape routes are clear and the floor is in a good state of repair,
- that all fire escapes can be opened easily,
- that all fire alarm systems are working
- the emergency lighting is working
- all fire doors close correctly and in good working order
- all fire exit signs are in the right place
- the training and fire drill log
It should also be used to record any faults in the buildings’ systems and fire fighting equipment.
Let’s look at each of these areas in more depth.
Naturally, all escape routes from your premises must be properly maintained and kept free from obstruction at all times.
A regular inspection should be carried out to ensure that all:
- doors that are on escape routes can be opened easily without the use of a key or special procedure.
- escape routes, including staircases, corridors, doorways, etc. are free from obstruction.
- self-closing devices fitted to doors should be effective in operation.
- doors fitted with automatic door release mechanisms should be tested in conjunction with tests of the fire alarm system.
- walls, doors, floors and glazing, which are required to stop the passage of fire and smoke should be inspected to ensure that the fire and smoke resistance is being maintained. (I.e. that there are no holes in walls and floors, there’s no broken glazing, that fire resistant doors are not damaged and that smoke seals touch the door and frame continuously as appropriate, etc.).
Fire Alarm and Automatic Fire Detection Systems
The “Responsible Person” should appoint a competent person to carry out any necessary work to maintain the fire system in correct working order. This includes the keeping of maintenance and testing records. Such a person should be suitably qualified and have received adequate training from the manufacturer, supplier or installer of the fire alarm system.
The following tests/inspections should be carried out as a minimum, alongside any other tests recommended by the manufacturer, supplier or installer of the fire system. These are then noted down with in the fire safety log book.
The system should be tested weekly week using a different call point each time. This ensures sequential testing of all call points’. It is recommended that each call point is identified and the identification recorded in this register following the test. Testing at the same time on the same day each week is not recommended as it breeds complacency with users of the building.
Periodic Inspection and Testing:
The responsible person should ensure that the time between inspections is based on a risk assessment but in any case, should not exceed 6 months. A comprehensive check and test sequence should be carried out by a competent person, in accordance with the current standards (e.g. the British Standard for Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings BS5839 Pt1).
Electrically Controlled Door Release Mechanisms
In premises where electrically controlled door release mechanisms are used, they should be tested weekly in conjunction with the fire alarm test. This is to ensure their correct operation on actuation of the alarm. These devices should also be tested by operating the manual release mechanism to ensure it works satisfactorily.
Every actuation of the fire alarm should be recorded in the log book, including false alarms. The cause of the alarm should be recorded together with any action taken to avoid a repeat occurrence. This will enable the alarm system to be managed in accordance with BS5839 & these records will also assist the service engineer to maintain the system.
Any maintenance of the fire alarm and automatic fire detection system, which necessitates the system being inoperative for any period, must be carried out at a time when the building is unoccupied, unless suitable temporary arrangements are put in place.
Fire Fighting Equipment
The annual inspection, service and maintenance of portable extinguishers must be carried out by a Competent Person in accordance with the relevant part of the current standard for “Fire Extinguishing Installations and Equipment in Premises”, BS5306, Part 3, and in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
Alongside this, Fire Marshals should routinely inspect them as part of their day to day duties. A regular inspection of all extinguishers should be carried out to ensure that they are in their appropriate position.
Satisfactory annual tests should be recorded on a label on each extinguisher or alternatively in a register used solely for this purpose with each extinguisher being identified by number.
Regular servicing of emergency lighting systems is essential. The Responsible Person should carry out (or appoint a Competent Person to carry out) the inspections detailed below.
Monthly emergency lighting tests
All emergency lighting systems must be tested monthly. The period of simulated failure should be sufficient for the purpose of this test while minimising damage to the system components, e.g. lamps. During this period, all luminaires and signs should be checked to ensure that they are present, clean and functioning correctly. Again, the results of these inspections should be recorded within the fire safety log book.
Annual emergency lighting tests
A test for the full rated duration of the emergency lights (e.g. 3 hours) must be carried out. The emergency lights must still be working at the end of this test. The results of the test must be recorded and, if failures are detected, these must be remedied as soon as possible.
Fire doors must be checked periodically (at least every 6 months to ensure that the intumescent strips are intact and not damaged. The function of these strips cannot be tested without their destruction. The doors should be self closing and seal well against the door frame.
Records of training and fire drills
Landlords must apply and enforce a policy which allows the effective management of the common areas to ensure fire safety is maintained. In particular, the common areas must not be used for either storage of combustible materials or any obstructions that can impede evacuation.
Fire evacuation drills should be conducted at least once a year. The results of the evacuation can then be analysed to determine where additional training is required.
All employees must receive instruction and training to ensure that they understand the fire precautions in the building and the actions to take in the event of fire. Any special needs for those less able must be taken into account. This information should include explanation of the working of the fire detection system and the need for good housekeeping, such as keeping escape routes clear of combustible materials. All regular building users (and in some cases all visitors & contractors) should be trained on the following;
- The items listed in your emergency plan.
- Importance of fire doors.
- Basic fire prevention measures.
- Appropriate use of firefighting equipment.
- Importance of reporting to the assembly area.
- Exit routes and the operation of exit devices, including physically walking these routes.
- General matters such as permitted smoking areas or restrictions on cooking other than in designated areas.
- Assisting disabled persons where necessary.
Fire Marshal training
This is a comprehensive training course and covers the following subject areas;
- Detailed knowledge of the fire safety strategy of the premises.
- Awareness of human behaviour in fires.
- How to encourage others to use the most appropriate escape route.
- How to search safely and recognise areas that are unsafe to enter.
- The difficulties that some people, particularly if disabled, may have in escaping and any special evacuation arrangements that have been pre-planned.
- Additional training in the use of firefighting equipment.
- Reporting of faults, incidents and near misses.
I genuinely hope that you’ve found this blog post helpful and informative. If you’ve enjoyed this post or have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.