Your browser is unsupported and may have security vulnerabilities! Upgrade to a newer browser to experience this site in all it's glory.
Skip to main content
  • About Us
  • Your Safety
  • Careers
  • Newsroom
  • Your Local Area
  • Contact Us

Do you own a business premises?

Do you, your family or anybody else sleep at or above the premises?

If so, fire safety law applies and you may need to take action.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service has recently began a period of inspecting businesses where upper floors are being used for sleeping accommodation. In many cases it has come to light that people are sleeping in rooms or flats above businesses where inadequate fire precautions are in place to protect them.

In these circumstances, a fire in the ground floor business carries with it a high risk of serious injury or worse to those above. People living on upper floors can find it difficult to evacuate quickly and safely in an emergency unless a safe exit route is available and they can be made aware of a fire below them.

What must I do?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes you responsible for taking steps to protect the people using your premises from the risk of fire.

You must:

  • Ensure a Fire Risk Assessment is carried out by a competent person and is recorded
  • Rectify any fire safety deficiencies and reduce the risk

    What is a fire risk assessment?

    It is a thorough look at your premises and the people who are likely to be in them. It considers the risk of fire breaking out and what measures you need to put in place to prevent it and keep people safe in the event a fire does occur.

    You can significantly reduce the danger of an injury in case of fire to those sleeping above your premises by carrying out the following:

    • Fit an alarm to provide early warning of fire which can be heard throughout the building
    • Protect and separate the ground and upper floors, including staircases, with fire resisting construction to ensure your exit route is safe
    • Make sure everyone in the premises knows how to get out of the building in the case of fire

    Gaps and holes

    Typically, between the stairs and the commercial premises. A fire in the commercial premises can allow smoke and the products of combustion to enter the staircase and stop people exiting.

    Signs to look out for:

    • Damaged walls from the staircase to the commercial premises – look out for holes or large cracks.
    • Ill-fitting or damaged doors in the wall from the commercial premises to the staircase.
    • Holes in the floors exposing the premises beneath.

    Residential entrance through the commercial premises

    If a flat or bedsit can only be accessed through the commercial premises, fire can spread very quickly from one area to another, and you may have no way to escape.

    Signs to look out for:

    • No separate entrance or way to leave quickly in an emergency.


    Ducting from the commercial premises running through a flat or bedsit can be dangerous too. A fire in the commercial premises ducting can allow fire and heat build-up in the ducting and this could ignite items close by in your flat or bedsit. If the ducting is properly encased and kept clean, this isn't something to worry about.

    Signs to look out for:

    • A strong smell of cooking, or of hot fat or oil.
    • Unexplained hot areas on walls, floors and in cupboards.
    • Smoke coming from strange places in your flat.

    Fire doors and escape routes

    Structurally speaking, flats or maisonettes within a building should have an access route that isn't through the commercial premises.

    It's also important that there are appropriate fire doors in use. That means:

    • If there is shared access, fire doors should separate commercial units and people's accommodation.
    • These doors should be suitable fire doors and should be kept closed, not propped open.
    • Your neighbours shouldn't store rubbish or supplies in your access or escape route.

    Fire Separation

    60-minute fire protection to floors, ceilings and walls between commercial areas and residential areas is a requirement – that means if you live in a flat above commercial premises, the adjoining areas should be able to resist fire for 60 minutes before it can spread.