One of the cornerstones of the work of the Fire and Rescue Service is in the area of Fire Protection. This work is focused on assisting business to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 so that the non-domestic buildings in which people work, visit and enjoy leisure time are provided with facilities that will ensure a safe means of escape in the event of a fire starting. This assistance may take the form of educational events, signposting to relevant guidance and the checking or auditing of fire protection measures.
All of our fire protection activities are targeted at those premises that we perceive present the greatest risk to the community. We are committed to enforcing the law so that members of the public and local employees are protected from the risk of death and injury caused by fire.
It is essential to us that the way in which we enforce fire protection supports our community, business and the Government's expectations of enforcers. The information below gives a high level overview of the cost of fire protection activities completed by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS), together with the outcomes of this work.
For all charts it’s important to note that the number of rate paying non-domestic properties within West Yorkshire is taken from CIPFA* statistics — Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.
The charts below show the resources used to carry out fire protection activity in West Yorkshire.
This graph shows the trend for the total service budget used for fire protection in the last 4 years
This graph shows the trend for the total service workforce carrying out fire protection work in the last 4 years
Total number of contacts made with non-domestic properties
In 2014/15 we made 8,818 contacts with the 77,972 non domestic properties within West Yorkshire. This equates to 11.31% of the rate-paying non-domestic properties within the Service’s area.
These dealings maybe in the form of;
• A formal in-depth audit
• A simpler, quicker inspection
• The provision of advice
• The education of businesses
We use a targeted approach when carrying out fire protection activities and ensure all dealings with properties are relevant and proportionate to the risk we perceive the property presents to the community.
This graph shows the trend for our interactions with properties in the last 4 years
Total number of consultations responded to for rate-paying non-domestic properties
In 2014/15 there were 2,432 consultations responded to.
Fire services respond to certain organisations when they require our expert opinion on fire safety matters. We receive consultation on Building Regulations applications for new buildings or alterations to existing buildings. Additionally, we are also consulted in respect of licensing applications and also occasionally in the case of planning applications.
It should be noted that the quantity of this work is driven by external demand.
This graph shows the trend for the total number of properties that have been involved in consultations in the last 4 years
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service uses the national fire safety audit process developed by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) to complete comprehensive inspections of buildings. This process ensures consistent, auditable and transparent enforcement that can be challenged. This audit system looks at the level of compliance across a range of areas required by the legislation and produces an enforcement option that ranges from verbal advice to the issue of an enforcement notice.
Number of Fire Safety Audits completed and their results
In 2014/15 WYFRS completed 2020 fire safety audits.
Accurate targeting of our activity should ensure all premises we visit require some form of informal or formal action. If this is the case then we are making the highest risk properties safer and enabling those premises that are safer, and who comply with the law, to continue with their day to day business.
- If an audit has taken place and the premises is broadly compliant with the requirements then a satisfactory audit is recorded.
- Informal activity means the premises has received a letter informing them of work required to be carried out.
- Formal activity would mean that a ‘notice’ (these can be viewed on the CFOA Enforcement Register) had been issued on the premises. This will include a timescale for completion of work and is issued when the areas of non-compliance are more serious than that required of an informal notification.
Examples of formal activity are:
- Alterations notice; This is issued when it is believed that should an alteration be made to a premises, the occupants may be in danger of a serious risk in case of fire.
- Enforcement notice; This would be issued when it is considered the risk to occupants in case of fire is more serious than can be dealt with by the sending of a letter. An enforcement notice will stipulate a time scale when works must be completed by.
- Prohibition notice; This would be issued when despite our efforts to work with the responsible person for a property to achieve compliance there are still times when, in our professional opinion, the condition of a building and the lack of fire safety provision mean that there is a significant risk of death or serious injury to persons within that building in the case of a fire starting. If this is the case under the fire safety law we have the power, by the serving of a notice, to prohibit or restrict use of or access to part or all of the building until it is made safer
- Prosecutions – as a last resort we can prosecute. This is not an action that we take lightly and each situation is carefully assessed against evidential and public interest factors. There are occasions when we feel that there are no options left to us. If this is the case we will not hesitate to pursue this course of action. WYFRS retains the services of a barrister and local solicitor to provide professional legal advice and assistance when necessary.
Please note: More than one notice can be issued on a single premises, for example an Enforcement Notice stipulating a time scale for work to be completed and additionally a Prohibition Notice, stopping use of a particular area of the building.
Despite the best efforts of our Fire Protection Officers to work with those properties we perceive present the greatest risk to the community, and enforcing the law where necessary, unfortunately fires in non-domestic properties still do happen, and injuries can occur.
Between 2011 and 2015 our fire protection work has contributed towards decreasing non-domestic fires, with deaths and injuries being at an all-time low.
The graphs below show the numbers of fires, injuries and deaths that have occurred in non domestic properties over the past 4 years. All fires no matter how small are investigated to ascertain the cause, as this allows us to target community safety activities and to work to prevent similar occurrences in the future. The outcomes of these investigations result in us deciding whether a fire has been started deliberately or started accidentally and these breakdowns are shown below.
We will continue to work hard to maintain these excellent outcomes and strive to protect the communities of West Yorkshire from the risk of death and injury caused by fire.
These are the effects of our fire protection activities over a long-term period on the wider community/environment.