COVID-19: businesses are reminded to maintain fire safety practices during the current pandemic

28 April 2020

As we head further into the current lockdown situation, it’s important for organisations, closed or open, to maintain their fire safety protocols. To ensure the safety of the site and any staff that still need to visit the site too.

With many businesses experiencing changes in risk, they should ensure their fire risk assessment (FRA) procedures are compliant with this level of risk. Responsible Persons (RPs) need to be aware and should gain advice from an appropriate FRA organisation where needed, to ensure they’re meeting these obligations.

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has outlined some considerations for businesses that are both closed and remain open:

Closed premises

Whilst many businesses are closed, they should consider the following:

  • Risk of arson – premises need to be secured to reduce the arson risk. This includes ensuring all entry points are closed and locked, utilising functioning CCTV on the premises, external lighting and removing outside fuel or ignition sources which could cause a fire to spread.
  • Sustain fire safety protocols – usual measures should be maintained, such as, fire doors remaining closed, maintaining and testing of fire alarms where safe to do so.
  • Shared escape routes – whilst securing a premises is important, it should not impede the means of escape for adjoining buildings that utilise the same point of exit.

Open premises 

The following should be considered for businesses that remain open:

  • FRA procedures must be reviewed where there are changes that impact methods of working. For example, an increase in raw materials being stored on site, existing space being used as storage space, an increase in the amount of finished goods on site.
  • If new staff have been employed at the businesses. RPs need to ensure relevant training is undertaken to make staff aware of fire safety procedures.
  • It is also important to consider staff shortages due to isolation. Normal fire processes might not be able to continue due to staff absences. In this case, FRA should be reviewed.
  • Fire doors and exits should not be propped open for the avoidance of touching door handles. 

For more information on fire safety in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, get in touch with the team here at Total Fire Group. We’re happy to assist with any queries you may have.

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