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Businesses urged not to overlook fire safety by National Fire Chiefs Council, SBRC and SFRS

Business 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/enforce new ways of working due to the current pandemic.

SBRC and SFRS are 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 – SBRC is encouraging business owners and dutyholders 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-19 secure measures – which are required to open some premises – may in some cases, compromise fire safety measures.

  • Any screens fitted to guard against Covid-19 infection must not obstruct smoke detection or adversely impact upon escape routes
  • 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 the emergency services to help you
  • Protect your business from wilful fire raising
  • Help your fire service by reducing false alarms – which currently accounts for about 40% of all emergency calls

Watch Commander Gary Wood, SFRS Seconded Officer to SBRC said: “The COVID Pandemic has been an extremely challenging time for all, we want to ensure that whilst the focus on health and safety for businesses is currently firmly on COVID-19 safety measures it is vitally important that other safety aspects within commercial properties are not overlooked. Businesses need to ensure any changes they make to their premises in response to COVID-19 do not compromise or impact upon their fire safety measures.

“Some businesses who experience a serious fire never recover from that event, fire does not discriminate even during periods of national pandemic – it’s vitally important that fire safety within your business premises is not overlooked”.

Gary concluded “We will publish further articles this week covering valuable advice on business fire risk mitigation”.

In conjunction with the National Fire Chiefs Council campaign we are encouraging businesses to take cognisance of fire risk within their premises. Details of the NFCC campaign can be found here.

For further guidance and advice on reducing fire risk within your business, contact Gary at SBRC on [email protected] and take a look at some of our previous fire related articles published on the SBRC website here. 

You can also contact your local Scottish Fire & Rescue Service fire safety officer for further advice and more information for businesses can be found on the SFRS website here.