Business advice: Fire safety tips for winter

19 November 2021

Fire safety should be a top priority all year round for commercial business owners, but as we head into winter, it’s important to keep in mind fire safety and the unique challenges businesses can face during this period. The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) estimates that 60% of privately owned businesses never recover from fire and its knock-on effects.

With that in mind, we’re going to share some fire safety tips for winter that you and your business should keep in mind.

Indoor heaters

Research shows that over 30% of employees have a personal electric heater that they use at work. So they’re pretty commonplace during the winter months. Whether it’s to warm up a drafty reception area or to keep toes toasty under the desk, electric heaters in the workplace can be a major fire hazard.

If you’re going to use indoor electric heaters you must ensure that they’re all PAT tested to make sure they are compliant.

You also need to think about the placement of the heaters.  Having heaters too close to furnishings can be dangerous, as well as being close to dry items like paper and packaging. 

Festive decorations

It’s common for businesses to decorate their premises with festive decorations as we approach Christmas. And while it’s a great way to boost employee morale and to get everyone excited for the festive season, it’s worth keeping in mind that decorations can become fire hazards. Now we’re not saying you shouldn’t decorate your business, but if you do, you need to run through a little checklist to make sure you haven’t created any extra fire risks.

Some things you should consider include:

  • Are the decorations flammable?
  • Are any decorations, such as a Christmas tree, blocking any fire exits?
  • Are any decorations hiding fire safety equipment such as extinguishers?
  • Do you need to do any new fire risk assessments?
  • Are decorations covering any vents on electrical equipment such as computers and printers?

Lights

Twinkling fairy lights are a common addition to business premises around winter but you always need to be sure that any lights you use to decorate your office have been bought from a reputable business and conform to the British Standard. 

You should also make sure to always switch off any lights before leaving the office. Never leave Christmas lights on overnight, as the heat from the lightbulbs could be enough to pose a fire hazard.

Evacuation procedures

Colder weather can bring about very different conditions so you should make sure that your fire evacuation plans are effective all year round. For example during a spell of cold weather fire assembly points may become slippery due to ice or blocked due to excess snow. In this case you’d need to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of employees, especially during a fire evacuation.

Does your business need fire safety services?

If you think your business is over due a fire risk assessment contact Total Fire Group to hear how we can get your business fire safety compliant. We also offer ongoing fire safety consultancy and fire risk management software. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

 

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