The Importance of Annual Fire Safety Statements

Fire safety is a crucial element in managing any residential or commercial building. Ensuring the safety of occupants should always be at the forefront of the management team’s mind. One of the key components in this safety regime is the Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS).

In this article, we’re going to delve into the concept of the AFSS, its significance, the process, and the obligations involved. We’ll also touch upon some common challenges that property owners face and how to overcome them.

What is an Annual Fire Safety Statement?

An Annual Fire Safety Statement is a document that certifies that the essential fire safety measures within a building have been tested, are operational, and comply with the relevant standards. These measures typically include fire extinguishers, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and emergency exit routes.

The AFSS is vital because it provides a recorded confirmation that the building’s fire safety measures are adequate and functioning correctly. It helps in demonstrating due diligence and a proactive approach to managing the risk of fire, and is required by law in many jurisdictions.

Significance of an Annual Fire Safety Statement

The importance of fire safety cannot be overstated. A proper fire safety plan can save lives and prevent unnecessary property damage. On a legal front, having an up-to-date AFSS can protect building owners and managers from liability in case of fire incidents. Additionally, it can also aid in the expeditious processing of insurance claims.

The Process

The process to secure an AFSS involves several steps:

  1. Identification of Essential Fire Safety Measures (EFSM): This involves recognizing all the necessary fire safety measures in place or required in the building.
  2. Inspection: A thorough inspection is carried out by an appropriately qualified person or company to ensure the EFSM’s effectiveness and compliance with the necessary standards.
  3. Maintenance: Any issues identified during the inspection need to be addressed promptly. Regular maintenance of these safety measures is paramount to their performance.
  4. Certification: Once the inspection is completed and any necessary repairs are made, the inspector issues an AFSS.
  5. Submission: The AFSS should then be submitted to the local council and the fire department.
Owner’s Obligations

As a building owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the building complies with the relevant fire safety standards. This includes:

  • Regularly maintaining and checking the EFSM
  • Obtaining an AFSS annually from a competent fire safety practitioner
  • Submitting the AFSS to the local council and the fire department
  • Displaying a copy of the AFSS in a visible location within the building
Overcoming Common Challenges

A common challenge faced by building owners is the identification and maintenance of all necessary fire safety measures. Given the technical nature of these measures, specialized knowledge is often required. This is where a competent fire safety practitioner becomes invaluable. They can provide advice, conduct the required assessments, and issue the AFSS.

Another challenge is ensuring the regular maintenance of fire safety measures. Establishing a schedule and sticking to it is crucial. Regular maintenance not only ensures the systems function correctly when needed, but it can also extend the lifespan of the equipment, potentially saving money in the long run.


The importance of an AFSS goes beyond a regulatory requirement. It forms a fundamental part of a building’s fire safety strategy, offering peace of mind to building owners, occupants, and emergency services. While it can be a complex process fraught with challenges, these can be mitigated with the right guidance and proactive management.

Remember, fire safety is not something to be taken lightly. It requires planning, regular maintenance, and diligent adherence to safety protocols. So, if you are a building owner or manager, make sure your property is fire-safe by taking the Annual Fire Safety Statement seriously. Your building’s safety and the well-being of its occupants could very well depend on it.

Dan has been working in the fire industry for over a decade, he still thinks its lit.






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