The fire service is calling on South Yorkshire businesses to do more to learn about their responsibilities under safety laws, after reporting a steep rise in cases where the strongest form of enforcement action has been taken.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it has served 10 prohibition notices on businesses since April 2015, compared to just six in the whole of the previous two years.
Prohibition notices are served where an inspector considers that in the event of a fire the risk to people using a premises is so serious that use of the building should be prohibited or restricted.
The notice may stop the use of all or part of the premises immediately or after a specified time and not allow it to be used until action has been taken to correct the issue.
Continued use of the building is a criminal offence and can result in a prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Technical fire safety manager Amy Jenkinson, said: “Our aim is always to engage with local businesses in a positive way and to work with them to make improvements before we have to resort to closing part or all of a building, or resort to criminal prosecution.
“But the recent increase in the number of prohibition notices served is worrying and we’d urge business owners to take the time to learn about their responsibilities under fire safety legislation and complete a fire risk assessment to reduce the likelihood of suffering a serious incident which could put their business and their people in danger.”
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has tackled more than 500 fires in non-domestic properties in the last three years.
Top safety tips for businesses include:
Keep fire escapes clear– make sure extra stock is stored away from fire escapes, ensuring staff and customers can get out safely in the event of a fire
Check alarm systems– regular checks and maintenance help to eliminate automatic false alarms and ensure the alarm is working if required
Complete a fire risk assessment– not only will it help to reduce the risk of suffering a fire in the first place, it will help make sure you comply with fire safety laws
Sprinklers– consider installing sprinklers as not only reduce death and injury from fire, but also protect property and heritage.