At Eastern, we speak to a lot of Responsible Persons about protecting their business with a commercial intruder alarm. But all of them also need to know about fire safety for small premises.

If you own or manage a property for your small business, here are some of the questions that you should be asking.

Who is responsible for the fire safety for small premises?

You’re responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:
* an employer
* the owner
* the landlord
* an occupier
* anyone else with control of the premises, for example a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent or risk assessor

You’re known as the ‘responsible person’.

Important – You could be fined or go to prison if you do not follow fire safety regulations.

Does our small premises need a fire alarm?

Yes! Current UK fire alarm regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire system’. If a fire does break out, this means it can easily be detected and the occupants of your building can easily be warned.

What type of fire alarm do I need?

To establish this, you will need to have a fire risk assessment undertaken. This will evaluate the premises, the risk factors and provide the details of what is required to be in place. Any recommendations should be carried out by a competent fire alarm installation company.

What is classed as a competent fire alarm company?

BS 5839-1 2017 suggests that the competence of a fire alarm company can be assured by the company gaining third party certification, i.e., holding BAFE registration, specifically having BAFE SP203-1, Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance of Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems Scheme.

How often should the fire alarm be serviced by my fire alarm company?

Just as we always recommend regular security system maintenance, your fire alarm is no different. It should be serviced by a competent fire alarm company at least every 6 months. For some premises, for example residential care and educational boarding premises, the fire alarm should be serviced every 3 months.

How often should I test my fire alarm?

You should test your fire alarm on a weekly basis at a set time. Occupants of the building should be warned that the test is going to be conducted and the test should be recorded in the fire alarm logbook, with any faults recorded and reported immediately to your fire alarm company.


In March 2023, the Home Office published some new guidance on fire safety for small premises.

The three guides cover:

  1. A guide to fire safety at small non-domestic premises. Click here
  2. A guide to fire safety at small block of flats. Click here
  3. A guide to fire safety at small paying guest accommodation. Click here

Fire Safety for Business Premises in West Midlands and Devon