BUSINESSES 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 and enforce new ways of working due to the current pandemic.
The Fire Chiefs Council is reminding businesses about the everyday fire risks in the workplace and both the legal and moral responsibility to ensure premises are safe from fire. Many businesses have had to respond quickly to the pandemic once they could 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, businesses owners are encouraged and Responsible Persons (RPs) to ensure they review Fire Risk Assessments and should also seek guidance and advice to help them keep their premises and occupants safe from fire.
Businesses must also 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; Business must have enough trained staff to support evacuation procedures; Ensure measures to support social distancing do not impact evacuation procedures or the ability of emergency service to help you; Protect your business from arson and Help us reduce false alarms – which currently accounts for about 40% of all emergency calls
Siôn Slaymaker, Head of Business Fire Safety at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said:
“As businesses continue to reopen it will be necessary to review Fire Risk Assessments to ensure that they are still current and reflect any changes to the way businesses now operate. Business owners should consider changes such as working practices, stock levels, alterations made to the premises and staff numbers. It is essential that assessments are undertaken and reviewed where there are significant changes in ways of working, processes or building layout.”
Mark Andrews, NFCC’s Business Engagement Lead added:
“It’s been a difficult and challenging time for so many people, and Fire and Rescue Services want to make sure that as businesses address changes needed in response to Covid-19, they remain fire safe. Fire can have a devastating impact on business with many never recovering after an incident. We are here to support businesses if they need advice and guidance so we ask them to review Fire Risk Assessments and help us to keep your business working safety.”
Information available on how to keep Business safe is on the website www.mawwfire.gov.uk
The contact number for a member of the Business Fire Safety team is 0370 60 60 699