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Fire safety

(FS320007) (Published June 2020 replacing April 2011)

Managing Fire Safety

All non-domestic premises need to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or similar Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 in respect to making them safe from fire. This guidance is to help you find simple ways to achieve this.  While this guidance is aimed at the users of buildings for Scout purposes, it can be applied to camping to reduce risk. The word “premises” can be taken to include tents and other structures intended for temporary occupation.

Who is responsible?

Whilst we all share a responsibility to be vigilant, those managers of the premises including the trustees must ensure that action is taken to comply.

Even if the premises you use is not your own, take a pro-active look at what safety precautions are there and what procedures you follow.  

What is required?

  • Carry out a fire-risk assessment to identify possible dangers and risks.

  • Using this, remove or reduce (so far as is reasonably practicable) any risk identified and provide general fire precautions for dealing with those that are left.

  • Produce a plan of how to deal with any emergency.

  • Record what you find and Review this as necessary.

Who should do this?

The Trustees (relevant Executive committee) together with any management committee are responsible for ensuring this is carried out, but may arrange for a competent person to carry out this task.

That may be someone who is capable of identifying the risks…perhaps a parent who manages a building in the work place or similar.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

The Scout Association follows the HSE guidelines for a five step approach to risk assessment and this works in just the same way. Full information on how to undertake a risk assessment can be found in Risk Assessment, here’s some hints for putting this into a fire risk assessment:

What are Fire Precautions?

These will vary, but may include a fire alarm system, a smoke alarm or simply a pre-arranged warning shouted out by leaders or young people.

Have an agreed method of calling the fire service at the first opportunity.

It should include some sort of fire extinguisher provision, ideal for dealing with a small fire but still no substitute for calling the fire service.

An essential fire precaution is the identification of a safe means of escape for all premises used for Scouting. Escape exits should be clearly marked and, together with escape routes, kept clear of obstructions at all times.  If you bolt a fire door for security when your building is vacant, make sure it is unlocked when used!

Particular Considerations…

There should be extra consideration made to premises with sleeping accommodation, such as campsites. A range of guides are available from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Extra consideration should be made to the need for a safe means of escape from premises by people who have additional needs, especially those with limited mobility, hearing and visual impairment. Where appropriate, a personal emergency evacuation plan [PEEP] should be agreed for users of the premises. In some circumstances it may be necessary for leaders to designate in advance assistants to help people with additional needs escape from premises should a fire break out. A guide is available here.

Storage of gas and other flammable liquids needs to be done carefully.

Additional Information and support


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