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Assess fire risk, warns BASEC

01/11/06

The British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC) is warning those responsible for any premises which come under new fire safety legislation to conduct risk assessments.

BASEC points out that those responsible for premises who fail to conduct a fire risk assessment could find themselves under further scrutiny.

The fire and rescue service will carry out regular inspections of premises and failure to comply could lead to enforcement action or even prosecution.

New fire safety rules for England and Wales came into force on1 October and affects all those responsible for buildings, including employers, the self-employed with business premises, charities and voluntary organisations and those contractors with any control over premises.

Dr Jeremy Hodge, chief executive of BASEC, said: "This legislation is just starting to bite and we are trying to highlight the perils for those who previously may not have had this responsibility.

"Having a risk assessment helps to demonstrate that they have an adequate system, or if they are unsure they should take advice to understand what steps they need to take to ensure compliance.

"It is really a matter of ensuring that the fire safety systems including fire alarms and detection equipment meet the requirements of the premises and how it is used.

"As part of the system, the appropriate fire performance cabling should be installed to ensure integrity of the system. There are clear guidelines for cabling for alarms and fire detection equipment and there can be no short-cuts when it comes to fire safety.

"We would recommend that BASEC-approved cables, which have undergone rigorous testing, are used in these instances."

Any assessment should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as the disabled and those with special needs and must include consideration of any dangerous substances likely to be on the premises.

Those businesses employing five or more people must record the significant findings of the assessment.

The main effect of the changes is a move towards greater emphasis on fire prevention. Fire certificates will be abolished and will cease to have legal status.  Occupiers of premises and the 'responsible' persons will have more onerous duties.

The legislation covers nearly every type of building, structure and open space except for private homes and individual flats in a block or house, although communal areas will be affected.

For further information see www.firesafetylaw.communities.gov.uk

ENDS

For further press information contact:

Paul Tustin, Acumen Public Relations.

Tel: 01704 885555

paul@acumenpr.com

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