Fire Safety: Who is responsible?

When it comes to fire safety, it can be difficult to know who is responsible for the safety of others. Overall you are responsible for yourself, however there are other factors that can make you a ‘responsible person’ for others within a building. You are responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:

  • An employer
  • The owner of the premises
  • The landlord
  • An occupier
  • Anyone else with control of the premise, e.g. a facilities manager, building manager etc.

Sometimes there will be more than one responsible person within a premises, which means you can work together to meet your responsibilities. These responsibilities will cover:

  • Carrying out fire risk assessments
  • Telling staff and representatives about these risks
  • Putting in place fire safety measures for these risks
  • Planning and practicing for emergencies
  • Providing staff information, fire safety instructions and training


In domestic rental properties, the fire safety legislation only applies to the common or shared parts of the premises and the responsible person normally lies with the landlord, freeholder or the managing agent. In shared premises, it is likely to be more than one person as the responsible person, so will have to co-operate with each other with fire safety measures and share information to ensure the safety of these in or around the premises.

These laws are enforced by your local fire and rescue authority, who must be satisfied with your safety measures. If they are not satisfied, they can now offer you advice on what you need to get the measures in place. If your local fire and rescue authority finds major failings, they can serve an enforcement notice requiring you to make improvement to ensure you premises complies with the law.

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