Dental mythbuster 21: Fire safety

Page last updated: 20 June 2023
Organisations we regulate

We will review the topic of fire safety when looking at the safe key question.

Fire safety relates to regulation 15: premises and equipment and regulation 12: safe care and treatment

How we assess fire safety when we inspect

When we inspect, we ask providers and staff about fire safety. We may review fire safety policies, certificates and records.

An inspector will walk around the premises and check that:

  • Work practices are in line with Fire Safety Legislation.
  • Fire extinguishers are fitted and suitable.
  • All notices are displayed clearly. For example, fire action and fire escape notices.
  • All emergency lighting is working clearly.
  • Fire documentation is easily accessible.

The documents we may review are:

  • the latest fire risk assessment (have any resulting action plans been completed)
  • the fire log book or electronic records, including:
    • fire alarm service record and weekly tests
    • emergency lighting annual contractor service and in-house monthly tests
    • fire extinguisher annual contractor service record and in-house monthly checks
    • electrical installation condition report
    • portable appliance test (PAT) records
    • gas system annual service record
    • records of staff fire safety training
    • records of fire evacuation drills
    • business continuity plan (arrangements following a fire related incident).

Who is responsible for fire safety?

You are responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:

  • an employer
  • the owner
  • the landlord
  • an occupier anyone else with control of the premises. For example, a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent or risk assessor.

You’re known as the ‘responsible person’. If there’s more than one responsible person, you have to work together to meet your responsibilities.


As the responsible person you must:

  • carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly
  • tell staff or their representatives about the risks you’ve identified
  • put in place, and maintain, appropriate fire safety measures
  • plan for an emergency
  • provide staff information, fire safety instruction and training.

Read about how to make sure your premises are safe from fire.

Shared premises

In shared premises it’s likely there’ll be more than one responsible person. You’ll need to co-ordinate your fire safety plans to make sure people on or around the premises are safe.

For common or shared areas, the responsible person is the landlord, freeholder or managing agent.

Fire risk assessments

As the responsible person, you must carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises. This will identify what you need to do to prevent a fire and keep people safe.

You must keep a written record of your fire risk assessment if your business has five or more people.

Carrying out the assessment

  1. Identify the fire hazards.
  2. Identify people at risk.
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
  4. Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
  5. Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.

The fire safety risk assessment chart gives more detailed information about these steps.

You’ll need to consider:

  • emergency routes and exits
  • fire detection and warning systems
  • firefighting equipment
  • the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
  • an emergency fire evacuation plan
  • the needs of vulnerable people, for example older people, young children or disabled people
  • providing information to employees and other people on the premises
  • staff fire safety training.

Help with the assessment

You can do the fire risk assessment yourself with the help of standard fire safety risk assessment guides. However, it is important that you are ‘competent’ to do this.

If you do not have the expertise or time to do the fire risk assessment yourself, you need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to help. For example, a professional risk assessor.

Read about how to choose a competent Fire Risk Assessor.

Your local fire and rescue authority might be able to give you advice if you’re not sure your risk assessment has been carried out properly. However, they cannot carry out risk assessments for you.