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Fire Acts

Understanding different fire safety acts throughout the United Kingdom is something that every individual must take part in. Typically, most locations in the United Kingdom are well known for handing the responsibility for fire safety to the individuals that either own or even merely occupy a structure. In other words, those individuals who live or work in a particular structure are considered to be just as responsible for fire safety and prevention as the person who owns the building. However, it would be a mistake to assume that all fire safety acts are the same throughout the United Kingdom. In fact, they vary a great deal. While it is relatively uniform throughout various locations in England, both Scotland and Northern Ireland have laws that are slightly different. While they all have the same basic foundation, there are certain things about them that makes them unique so it is vital that anyone living or working in the area know what these differences truly are.

Basic Regulations In the United Kingdom

Throughout most locations in the United Kingdom, fire safety is considered to be the responsibility of every individual. Unlike fire safety regulations in the United States, it is not merely up to only the business owner or the owner of a home in order to make sure that fire safety occurs. In fact, residential fire safety is just as important as it is in commercial buildings in the United Kingdom, something that the United States has yet to adopt. It basically works like this. Any person that lives or works in a building is responsible for making sure that fires do not occur, either through ensuring that smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are present or that potential fire hazards are removed from the location as soon as they are discovered.

Furthermore, every individual is responsible for creating a fire safety plan to make sure that everyone can get out safely. It is not the responsibility of a single individual, but instead is expected to be a conglomerate effort of every person there, working together as a team. As such, any fire that does occur will be assessed and responsibilities will then be handed down to whomever is deemed responsible, even if that person only works in the building and has little control over day to day operations. In other words, if a fire hazard is discovered it is expected that the individual who discovered it will remove it immediately and alert everyone else to the problem as opposed to simply leaving it alone and expecting someone else to deal with it.

According to the Fire Safety Order and the Regulatory Reform Order of 2005, failing to do so is punishable by law. By the same token, no one is allowed to rent a building to a tenant without first making fire safety a priority. Everything must be assessed prior to having a license to rent to tenants, thereby reducing the chances that buildings that are unsafe can be rented out to unsuspecting individuals. With that being said, it is still the responsibility of the tenant to make sure they are doing their part, as previously mentioned.

Fire Law in Scotland

Things are slightly different in Scotland, as the basic responsibility is based on the amount of control that a certain individual has with regard to a specific location. To put it another way, an individual that has very little control over what happens in that location will not be assessed as much responsibility when it comes to preventing a fire as a person that has more control. Therefore, tenants and individuals in the workplace are not held to the same degree of responsibility that building owners or managers might be held. This makes penalties for infringement on these laws slightly less strict than they are in other locations in the United Kingdom

Fire Safety in Northern Ireland

Things are different still in Northern Ireland. The laws more closely match those discussed in the first paragraph concerning most locations in the UK but they extend to major public facilities such as health care facilities and other similar structures. While an all-hands approach seems to work well, Northern Ireland takes this approach and mixes it with some of the responsibility-based ideas that are held in Scotland. Therefore, it might be considered something of a hybrid between the two.

Fire Alarm Systems

How does all this relate to fire alarm systems? It basically sets forth the laws that must be put into place when it comes to having an effective system that is capable of alerting people to the possibility of a fire. While fire alarm systems are required in all locations, the rules and regulations dictating how they should be used differ, as you can see from the previous paragraphs. The biggest question that comes into play involves determining who is ultimately responsible for the installation and maintenance of a fire alarm system. In the first example, this duty can fall on any individual while in the second and third examples, there is much more leeway for those individuals who have less control over the overall operation of a particular facility.


In the end, it is all about keeping the public safe. The United Kingdom has adopted some of the most unique and progressive fire safety laws in the world and there are a relatively low number of fire-related deaths, reflecting just how progressive they really are.
For more information, go to www.minerva-security.co.uk

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