As business are starting to return to work a lot of the focus is been put on social distancing measures and how to keep people and customers safe on the premises in relation to Covid 19. Whilst these are necessary measures your fire safety obligations should not be overlooked. As well as normal checks that should be part of your fire safety management it should be ensured measures put in place to combat Covid 19 do not compromise your fire safety measures and increase the risks.
Review your fire risk assessment
Ensure your current measures are adequate and that any changes to the premises are taken into consideration.
Do you have extra stock and waste as a result of the last few months? Management measures should be implemented to ensure there is not an increase in fire loading or an increased risk of arson due to excess waste. All stock should be stored in appropriate storage areas where possible.
Means of Escape
Ensure all fire exit doors open freely and escape routes are not obstructed by things such as increased stock or rubbish. Escape routes should be kept clear at all times.
Fire Alarms and Firefighting Equipment
Check that your fire alarm system and emergency lighting is in full working order and not showing any faults at the panel with the emergency lighting LED been lit on all lights. Also ensure that firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers are ok by checking the tamper seal is in place and the needle is in the green area of the gauge (not present on carbon dioxide). If your premises have been closed and your servicing was due in that time ensure that the relevant servicing is carried out as soon as possible.
Ensure all your staff know what to do in the event of a fire and provide extra training to fire marshals. Implement fire drills to test your staff and ensure they are both competent and confident in what they need to do in the event of a fire or alarm sounding.
Do your social distancing measures effect your fire safety measures?
One way systems
What are your procedures in the event of a fire alarm? Do you still expect customers to follow a one way system and if so will doing that result in them taking longer to reach their nearest fire exit?
With barriers and one way system implemented have you inadvertently blocked a designated fire exit? If so how can the system be changed as not to block any fire exit?
Are you wedging fire doors open on circulation routes as an attempt not to have to touch them? Fire doors should never be wedged open and there are solutions that allow your fire door to be kept open and released on activation of the fire alarm – these solutions also allow for the doors not having to touched.
Fire Assembly Points
Does your current fire assembly point allow for people to adhere to the current social distancing rules? If not is there an alternative fire assembly point that can be used in the meantime that is both safe and allows for social distancing?
All of the above are points for consideration which should be looked at in detail by your business and form part of your fire safety management and evacuation plan to ensure the safety of all staff and customers is maintained.
If you would like us to review your current fire risk assessment taking into consideration social distancing measures please give us a call on 0800 180 4132 or visit https://www.whiterosefiresafety.co.uk/quote to arrange a quote.
Please also do not hesitate to get in touch should you need advice regarding your premises.
White Rose Fire Safety