Date: 2nd September, 2020
Businesses across the UK which have had to make changes due to COVID-19 are being urged to make sure fire safety remains a top priority.
The call comes from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) as many have had to implement new ways of working due to the current pandemic. The NFCC is reminding businesses about the everyday fire risks in the workplace – and there is both a legal and moral responsibility to ensure premises are safe from fire.
Many businesses had to respond quickly to the pandemic once they were allowed to reopen and while revisiting risk assessments, fire safety may not have been at the forefront of planning.
As part of NFCC’s Business Safety Week – which runs from 7th- 13th September – Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are encouraging business owners and Responsible Persons (RPs) to ensure they review Fire Risk Assessments. They should also seek guidance and advice to help them keep their premises and occupants safe from fire.
Businesses must consider the potential risks that the COVID secure measures – which are required to open some premises – may in some cases, compromise fire safety measures:
- New screens must not obstruct smoke detection or sprinkler heads
- Business must have enough trained staff to support evacuation procedures
- Ensure measures to support social distancing do not impact evacuation procedures, exit doors or the ability of emergency service to help you
- Protect your business from arson
- Help your fire service by reducing false alarms – which currently accounts for about 40% of all emergency calls
Group Manager Tim Gray, said: “The last few months have undoubtedly been difficult and challenging for many people and businesses. As such, we want to make sure that whilst businesses address the changes needed in response to Covid-19, they remain fire safe in doing so. Fire can have a devastating impact on businesses, with many never recovering after an incident.”
He added: “We are encouraging businesses to firstly review their Fire Risk Assessments, and to contact us for advice should they need any support. Our goal is to keep all businesses working safely.”
The campaign can be followed on social media using the #BusinessSafety2020. Additional advice from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service can be found at https://www.dwfire.org.uk/business-fire-safety/