Is Your Business Prepared For Fire?

Fire safety isn’t a very sexy thing. Many businesses think it will never happen to them anyway, so why bother with testing the fire alarm, making sure fire doors work properly and practicing the fire evacuation drill? Fires are things that happen to other people. And, of course, they are right – right up to the point where they are horribly wrong.

We hope that it’ll never be you, standing in the smoking ruin of your building, contemplating the loss of your business, your livelihood and maybe worse. But wishing won’t make it so. Only good planning and proper precautions will reduce your risk of being that person. So, what does the average business need to do?

10-16 September is The National Fire Chiefs’ Council Business Safety Week, during which Fire and Rescue Services all over the country will be reminding businesses about the support and help available to them, and also reminding them how to keep their staff, customers and visitors safe from fire.

As an employer, you have a duty to make sure a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment has been carried out for your premises, and also to take notice of the actions that are recommended by that assessment.

  • When did you last revise your assessment?
  • Have you doubled the number of staff and rebuilt half the building since you last looked at it? If so then you need to review it now.
  • Not sure if, or when, you last did an assessment? Then you need to find out now.
  • Think this is your landlord’s responsibility? If you are an employer, it is not up to them – it is up to you.

There’s lots of good guidance out there to help you with this, but if you aren’t sure, Safety Management Limited can help you. We have years of experience of carrying out fire risk assessments, in a wide variety of premises and would be pleased to quote for helping you with yours.

On a day to day basis, you need to be doing the simple things. These are the things that are very easy to do, but which if not done properly can have a devastating effect in a fire. Based on our recent findings, while carrying out fire risk assessments, here’s some things to check:

  • Do all your fire doors shut properly? Have they been jammed open all summer and now won’t close?
  • Is your fire alarm actually working? When did anyone last check that the panel was showing a green light? Has it been serviced in the last 6 months?
  • When did you last have your emergency lighting tested? Did anyone actually action the report if lights were not operating? Winter is coming and afternoons will be dark in December…
  • When did you last actually practice your fire evacuation procedure? Yes, we know it’s a nuisance, but it’s better to find out that half the exit doors don’t open before you actually have an emergency!
  • How clear are your fire escape routes right now? Are the stairwells full of boxes? Are the corridors half-blocked by items that will be moved “soon” but have been there weeks?
  • When did you last carry out portable electrical testing? Is your workplace full of overloaded adaptors that keep tripping out your power?

Fire doesn’t wait for a convenient time. It doesn’t wait for you to clear the corridors and move the boxes. It doesn’t wait till you’ve got the fire alarm serviced, your staff trained, or the emergency lights working properly. It could happen now, today. Would you be ready? If the answer is not a categorical “yes”, then today is the day to do something about it before it happens to you and it’s too late.

For further advice or assistance for your business, please contact Safety Management.

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