Creating (And Updating) The Fire Safety Plan For Your Business

Posted 26.01.23 by:

Any business or organization must have a fire safety plan. The plan outlines what people should do in the event of a fire, including evacuation routes and procedures.

Having an up-to-date fire safety plan is essential to keeping your employees and patrons safe, but it’s also essential to know how to create and update the plan accordingly.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about creating (and updating) a fire safety plan for your business.

Start Your Business, Start Your Plan. Creating The Fire Safety Plan (The Right Way)

Fire safety equipment. Learn more at

As mentioned, you must have a fire safety plan and review the plan with staff. Ideally, it would be best to do this before the business opens, but every situation is different. Either way, let’s walk through the basics.

What To Include In A Fire Safety Plan

As a business owner or manager, you need a robust health and safety system for your staff and clientele. Staff will learn through training and clients through guided signs and other items. Let’s start with the basics of our in-house teams.

We must consult our jurisdiction’s authorities to know exactly what we need to include, as each region may have slight alterations to its building and fire code. Here is a basic set of who runs things and where:

The rules are the same across the world. However, there are some minor and subtle differences, so it’s best to find out in your specific region. Each region, be it state or province, may have building and fire code variations, but we’ll review the basics that you may find in most areas.

For example, in the United States, the plan is called the Fire Prevention Plan, while in Canada, it’s called the Fire Safety Plan. However, the basics remain the same, if not entirely similar. Here’s what you’ll want to include, at a minimum.

The Basic Inclusions – 8 Things To Include (At A Minimum)

The first thing to do is write things down. Your plan needs to be in writing, whether physically handwritten or typed isn’t stipulated, but a written and legible copy is most certainly required.

Within the document, you’ll need the following, and as mentioned, these are at a minimum. The more detail you can include, the better off you’ll be.

  1. Your business name, operating address, or addresses (if applicable, of course).
  2. A list of significant fire hazards. Include flammable materials, objects, structures, and other items.
  3. Proper handling and storage procedures for flammables (including raw and waste materials).
  4. Proper control procedures for processes that may create sparks, heat, or flame.
  5. Proper equipment to prevent fires, burns, or inhaling smoke or fumes.
  6. Procedures to maintain equipment that may create sparks, heat, or flame.
  7. The name and the associated role of those responsible for managing and maintaining fire prevention equipment.
  8. The name and the associated role of those responsible for managing and maintaining control of fuel source hazards.

We also recommend an amendment that includes a signed copy of a statement verifying that the responsible parties are aware and trained to manage their responsibilities. Similarly, you’ll need to ensure that your Standard Operating Procedures for each role include those new responsibilities. And obviously, you must also ensure that you have trained the staff according to the role and responsibilities noted.

Roles and Responsibilities

Most countries make it pretty straightforward, but just in case, you are responsible for a fire safety plan if you are:

  • an employer
  • a landlord
  • a business owner
  • a responsible occupier of a premises
  • a responsible site manager

You’d better have a fire safety plan if you have anyone working for you, under you, or any clients who enter your premises. It applies to everyone from owners of a live-in bed and breakfast to factories employing hundreds. If you have staff or clients who enter a place of business, even if you live in the area of business, you need a fire safety plan (or fire prevention plan, if you prefer to call it). It also applies to charity organizations, so even non-profits need a fire safety plan.

Now that we’ve cleared that up let’s talk about the actual responsibilities. We’ve stated that you need to have the fire safety plan in writing and that it should ideally be within the confines of your health and safety plan. However, the critical thing to note is that the procedure document exists and that any staff receives training deemed appropriate for their role.

Similarly, any who work within the facility, but are not responsible for specific fire prevention-related roles, must still endure training in essential fire prevention. Also, at the very least, they receive basic training in the fire safety plan, so they know what to do in case of a fire emergency incident.

Responsibilities Included (For Management and Owners)

As an individual responsible for managing or maintaining fire safety protocol, there are several items to include in your operations:

  1. Regularly scheduled Fire Risk Assessments. Ensure you complete these periodically and complete a review of the observations. Ensure improvements or corrections proceed quickly and efficiently.
  2. Communicate fire risks ascertained in the fire first assessment and provide training in prevention and mitigation as appropriate.
  3. Implement controls for any fire risk discovered.
  4. Plan and document procedures for fire risk mitigation from those risks uncovered during the assessments.

Remember, you are responsible if you manage or supervise any non-domestic premises. In other words, all workplaces, commercial premises, publically accessible premises, and common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings.


The typical enforcement for building and fire code violations falls on local officials. These officials may be members of local fire and rescue authorities, or they might be local bylaws or regulatory enforcement agents.

Most countries utilize regional authorities for enforcement, with support from the federal government’s more broad legislation regarding building and fire codes.

Fines are harsh and could even include imprisonment should a judge deem a manager or owner negligent. I’m afraid you can’t claim you didn’t know, so ensure you follow the rules and manage accordingly.

Hazard Identification Focusing On Fire

Hazard Identification symbols. 1st Reporting talks about why training your team on these and other hazard identification measures is essential.

Your fire safety plan must include identified hazards and how you plan to mitigate them. Therefore, you’ll need to start with a process to identify said hazards. Implementing a Hazard Identification Program is the first step.

A Hazard Identification Program is merely a program that you create where each role within the organization performs a Job Hazard Analysis or JHA for short. You can use tools to make it easier, like implementing a JHA Checklist. However, reviewing an excessive amount of JHAs might become tedious if you have a large organization with multiple roles.

To remedy the facilitation of multi-role JHA analysis, we recommend using our 1st Reporting app. Our app will help you by allowing you to perform reports based on multiple entries. In other words, the app does the heavy lifting for you, and you can just push an account to see trends without digging through every JHA. Of course, the app works for any inspection, incident, audit, or anything else you can think of where documentation or using a checklist becomes relevant.

To summarize, you will want to create and document a process within your Fire Safety Plan. That process must include a simple explanation of your risk assessment process. Doing this step ensures you can review the documented process and make the necessary improvements. However, changing the process means updating the Fire Safety Plan, but we’ll get to that later.

Flammables Handling and Storage

Flammables Handling and Storage explained at

Include within your Fire Prevention Plan any flammable materials used within the workplace. Remember that this means getting a copy of their GHS information as well.

It’s also worth noting that there are waste materials people don’t think of, which can be an excellent fuel source and a significant problem if overlooked. In my days working in the industry, I found a few culprits, including anyone who washes and dries laundry and anyone who transports or uses paper products. These two examples of different sectors both create waste – one in the form of lint and the other in the form of fine paper dust. Both lint and paper dust ignite at seemingly unbelievable rates, so you must ensure that no matter what type of business or operations you run, you look at raw materials and waste and don’t overlook anything.

Your fire prevention plan should include all flammables and offer procedures for managing and controlling the materials and associated risks.

Fire Prevention Equipment

Fire prevention equipment, like fire extinguishers, is easy to inspect using the 1st Reporting app.

As a necessary course of action, we will require fire prevention equipment. You undoubtedly already have fire extinguishers and a fire alarm to marry up with your collection of fire exits. However, did you know that fire extinguisher inspections should occur at least once a year?

Any equipment you intend your team to use in case of fire must find its way into your fire safety plan. Your plan must include a procedure for maintaining the equipment also. In many cases, it means contacting the local fire department or alarm company to run a false alarm fire drill and test all equipment systems.

Your operations will determine the legitimacy of a full-scale annual test, but running annual fire drills when you have more than ten staff is a requirement in most regions.

We’ve made a guide to help with the process that you’ll find insightful.

The Complete Guide To Making A Fire Drill Procedure

The guide will walk you through what you should include and align with most regions’ requirements. However, check with local authorities if you live in an area with different needs.

As a bonus, if you aren’t using the 1st Reporting app yet and still use paper forms, you can download our Fire Drill Checklist for your business here.

Fire Incident Procedures

Fire Incident Procedures explained at

You’ve completed your fire safety plan, but now you must ensure that you wrap things together with simple processes. These procedures should come to fruition should a fire break out.

You’ve undoubtedly outlined the fire drill procedure and some procedures for using specific fire prevention equipment. However, you must review all processes and procedures and ensure you have included each.

For example, you may have different procedures depending on the scope and nature of the incident. After all, you don’t want a team member pulling the fire alarm and calling down the authorities if there’s a tiny spark in a machine shop (as expected during metalworking).

Instead, it would help if you clarified what constitutes an emergency and the use of special equipment within your fire safety plan.

These procedures should include the intended use of any fire prevention equipment, including Personal Protective Equipment.

Updating Your Fire Safety Plan

Here’s the scenario: you already have a fire safety plan, but it needs a facelift. Perhaps new equipment or renovated facilities are the culprits. Whatever the reason, when the work environment changes, so must your fire safety plan.

The easiest way to update your fire safety plan is via adding amendments. This process involves creating a notation in the desired location of the existing fire safety plan. The memo points to an amendment. Depending on how you’ve presented the work to your team, the amendment section might exist at the back of each section.

If you’ve created a digital fire safety plan, it’s easy to make amendments, primarily if you used Google or Microsoft tools to write the original. Most companies utilize software like 1st Reporting to share their health and safety manuals (including the fire safety plans). Using a robust solution like 1st Reporting for your team incident documentation and reporting platform, you can share documents like updates to a fire safety plan via the built-in shared file library.

You must update your fire safety plan whenever a change occurs to facilities or operations that affect or alter an existing plan’s processes or procedures. Similarly, you will need to train further any team members affected by the altered processes.

Updating team members on changes to the fire safety plan is essential. In fact, it’s critical in the case of new or discovered fire hazards.

If you require a robust way of managing your health and safety, give 1st Reporting a try (you’ll be glad you did).

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Join the globally-recognized brands that trust 1st Reporting to safeguard their organizations!