Fire safety guidance

Places of worship have a legal responsibility to comply with fire safety legislation. In England and Wales this legislation is known as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires all non-domestic premises to appoint a 'responsible persn' to conduct a fire risk assessment.

All places of worship in England and Wales need to:

  • Assess the fire risks in your premises. These must be recorded if you have five or more employees (including volunteers), but it is good practice to record it in any event, regardless of how many people you employ;
  • Make sure that a fire can be detected and people are warned in a reasonable time;
  • Provide appropriate firefighting equipment, which must be checked and maintained;
  • Make sure people can escape safely from your premises and know what to do in the event of a fire.

Who is a responsible person?

Under the Order, anyone who has control in a building or anyone who has a degree of control over certain areas or systems may be designated a "responsible person". 

Although in many premises the responsible person will be obvious, there may be occasions where several people have some responsibility.

For example:

  • The employer for those parts of a premises over which they have any control.
  • The managing agent or owner for common parts of a premises or common fire safety equipment such as fire warning systems or sprinklers.
  • The occupier of premises that are not workplaces such as a chairperson in a parish hall.
  • Any other person who has some control over a part of a premises may be the responsible person in so far as that control extends.

Risk assessment

Performing a thorough risk assessment and acting on your findings will help to reduce risks, ensure compliance with legislation and could save lives.

Extensive guidance has been provided by the government in respect of fire safety, whilst these pages will assist you in giving an overview, it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the government’s "Fire safety risk assessment:small and medium places of assembly".