Businesses which have made covid-related changes are being urged to make sure fire safety remains a top priority.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is endorsing a call from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) for businesses to be mindful of everyday workplace fire risks.
The chiefs are reminding bosses that there is both a legal and moral responsibility to ensure premises and occupants are safe.
As part of NFCC's Business Safety Week - which runs from 7-13 September – Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are encouraging business owners and Responsible Persons (RPs) to ensure they review Fire Risk Assessments and seek guidance.
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.”
“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 chiefs say 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.
Points of concern include:
- New screens must not obstruct smoke detection or sprinkler head
- Businesses must have enough trained staff to support evacuation procedure
- They must ensure measures to support social distancing do not impact evacuation procedures, exit doors or the ability of emergency services to help
- Measures must be in place to protect businesses from arson
- Businesses should help the fire service by reducing false alarms, which currently account for about 40 percent of all emergency calls
The campaign can be followed on social media using #BusinessSafety2020, and additional advice from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service can be found at https://www.dwfire.org.uk/business-fire-safety/