Fire safety officer
The term ‘fire safety officer’ is an ambiguous one that may be used to refer to a fire officer within the Fire Safety Department of the Fire and Rescue Service or more generally to refer to a person within an organisation who assesses the organisation’s buildings to determine whether they are compliant with fire prevention legislation.
However, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 actually gives the role of compliance within organisations to the ‘responsible person’. The responsible person may appoint ‘competent persons’ to assist them. The statutory role of inspection is given to a ‘fire inspector’ or ‘inspector’. The fire and rescue authority may be a fire inspector – see fire inspector for more information.
 Fire safety officer responsibilities
The responsibilities of a fire safety officer might include:
- Advising on fire issues relating to building structure and fabric, services, alterations and maintenance.
- Advising on new build fire safety requirements.
- Co-ordinating and monitoring fire risk assessments.
- Liaising with relevant authorities involved in fire safety.
- Advising on fire issues relating to the day-to-day activities of building occupants.
- Giving advice and guidance relating to compliance with legislation.
- Monitoring fire precautions, ensuring that electrical systems are safe, fire-fighting equipment is well maintained, and fire doors and escape routes meet appropriate requirements.
- Preparing reports on issues relating to fire safety.
- Liaising with organisations on fire safety issues, including providing staff training sessions.
- Inspecting buildings to determine the cause of fires.
- Establishing policies and procedures for fire department personnel.
- Presenting safety teaching programs to schools, community organisations and the general public.
 Skills, requirements and qualifications
Fire safety officers must be collaborative team players, needing to maintain the continuity of their team’s workload as well as communicating and liaising with other relevant authorities. The role may involve inspections and assessments as well as carrying out duties in busy control room environments.
Having to inspect buildings for compliance requires a fire safety officer to be proficient at reading and interpreting building plans, with suitable knowledge to identify inconsistencies or risks relating to electrical safety standards, sprinkler systems, fire safety regulations, and so on.
A significant part of a fire safety officer’s job involves oral and written communications. They must be comfortable with public speaking to different types of audience. Detailed written reports of investigations and inspections are also frequently required.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Fire and rescue service.
- Fire authority.
- Fire damper.
- Fire detection and alarm system.
- Fire inspector.
- Fire prevention on construction sites.
- Fire protection engineering.
- Fire safety design.
- Health and safety executive.
- Joint fire code.
- Responsible person.
- The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
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