Fire Safety in Retail Environments

18 January 2013

One of the pressing concerns for those in the retail industry is fire safety. A fire can erupt in just instants and have a devastating effect on your entire business if you aren’t careful; therefore minimizing the risk of a fire is going to be of critical importance.

Many people are unfortunately not giving this issue the attention that it deserves and may find themselves in a rather unfortunate position if they aren’t careful.

Let’s have a quick look at what you need to know about fire safety in retail environments.

What May Put Your Business At Risk

There are a number of different risk factors for fires in the retail environment so learning these can better guide the precautionary tasks you need to take.

Any exit paths should never be blocked and should be regularly checked for any stock or equipment that may be in the way. This could be in the form of clothes rails, crates or anything else that could have been carelessly placed. Exits should also be well lit with clear exit signs.

Discarded smoking materials can be an offender to be aware of. It’s a must that you keep any smoking zones outside of the building and as far away from any flammable materials as possible. A careless smoker could easily start a fire in this manner.

You also need to keep tabs on electrical appliances. Whether it’s due to a poorly cared for appliance or an electrical fault, these are a high risk zone for fires if they are to malfunction.

Likewise, kitchenettes and staff rooms that are placed in the retail environment are another location where fires may start to brew. You want to make sure the kitchenette is attended to during lunch periods and always ensure no food is left on the stove once lunches and breaks are finished.

If you keep flammable goods in storage rooms, that’s another place you need to be very careful about as they will have a higher risk for starting on fire. Try and keep all flammables tightly sealed and if you can, store them all in one area of the room.

Giving Employees Proper Training

Apart from looking at the various areas of your business that has a greater likelihood of starting on fire, it’s also essential that you give your employees or anyone who is working on site proper fire prevention training.

Many people aren’t educated on this topic, and won’t know what to do in the case of a fire starting either. By walking them through the strategies and hopefully gaining their cooperation, you can make your retail workplace a safer area to be.

Your employer should have an emergency evacuation plan in case of a fire and make you aware of who you will need to inform. Different members of staff are also likely to have certain responsibilities and must help customers out of the store.

Fire extinguishers must be present in all stores and staff must know how to properly operate them. Total Fire Services can provide your retail store with sufficient fire extingisher training for employees, making them aware of what to do in the event of a fire and how to properly use your fire extinguishers.

Finally, the sad fact is that Arson is one of the highest reasons for retail related fires, so it’s in your best interest to learn further tactics that you can use to protect this from occurring.  While you may not be able to entirely prevent someone from committing this crime, at the very least you can ensure your business is well equipped with fire extinguishers and a game plan in place should it occur.

So there you have the main points to keep in mind regarding fire safety in your retail business. Keep tabs on this to ensure you are minimising the risk of loss of life and property damage. If in doubt at all, contact Total Fire Services, dedicated fire safety consultants for more information.


We offer our clients a complete fire safety management service, our key services include:

Fire Risk Assessments

Delivering a comprehensive and detailed report on your property.

Fire Safety Consultancy

We can provide a partnership which offers auditing and consultancy services.

Fire Risk Management Software

Manage multiple risk assessment actions with our Aurora software.

Fire Safety Training

Our fire safety training courses cover every level of fire safety, from basic through to advanced.