How is the Fire Safety Order enforced?
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (the Fire and Rescue Authority) is responsible for the enforcement of the Fire Safety Order. Fire safety officers based at the service’s four fire safety offices make regular audits of premises to ensure the legislation is complied with.
- A fire safety officer has certain powers. For example a right of entry and a right to require the production of relevant documents. The details of the procedures to be adopted by officers when conducting fire safety audits can be viewed on request.
- If we consider that any duty under the legislation has not been complied with, we may take formal action, such as the serving of an alterations notice or an enforcement notice. We will on all occasions exercise due care and consideration with regard to the use of our powers and, as far as is reasonably practicable, we will ensure matters are addressed through legislation having primacy in the circumstances.
- If we are of the opinion that the risk to life is so serious, we may serve a Prohibition Notice to prohibit or restrict the use of premises.
- It is an offence not to comply with the requirements of the legislation. Depending on the nature of the offence a guilty person may be liable for a fine or imprisonment for up to two years, and in same cases, both.
- However, we stress that the main aim of the Fire Safety Order is to encourage a risk assessed approach and to realise that there is often more than one way to achieve an acceptable level of fire safety.