South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Safety advice for businesses over the festive period

We know this is a very difficult time for everyone, including businesses, but it is vital that your business, and the people working for you, remain safe from fire.

With the Christmas period upon us we’ve put together some fire safety advice to help keep your business and those within the premises safe.

If you’re considering the introduction of any Christmas decorations into your premises over the festive period you should consider the following advice and also review your fire safety risk assessment before decorating.

Some of our key, general tips are:

  • Do not place Christmas trees, decorations or lights in the means of escape
  • Do not obstruct escape routes or escape doors
  • Do not obstruct or obscure fire escape signage, fire fighting equipment, emergency lighting, break glass call points, fire alarms sounders, emergency isolation points etc. with decorations.

Reviewing your fire safety risk assessment

Christmas decorations may increase the fire loading (flammable items/materials) and fire risk in your premises.

Your fire safety risk assessment should therefore be reviewed by a competent person prior to putting festive decorations in your premises.

There are five key steps to a fire risk assessment:

  • Identify the fire hazards
  • Identify people at risk
  • Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
  • Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan & provide training
  • Review and update regularly

More information on fire safety risk assessments can be found here.

Decorations

Take care with decorations and trees. Always use flame resistant/fire retardant products:

  • Decorations made of paper, cardboard and cotton wool should not be used – they are extremely flammable and can burn easily
  • Any Christmas decorations should be non-flammable/fire retardant – fire retardant decorations are available from suppliers
  • Positioning of decorations should not be in close proximity to sources of ignition
  • Decorations must not obstruct or obscure fire escape signage, firefighting equipment or other safety features

Christmas trees

  • If you have a natural Christmas tree ensure that it is watered daily because a Christmas tree which has dried out can be highly flammable
  • Avoid placing Christmas trees in areas where they could be easily knocked over
  • Christmas trees should be placed in a suitable stable container to prevent it from falling over
  • Christmas trees should never be put in positions where they obstruct or obscure escape routes or escape doors, fire escape signage, firefighting equipment or other safety features
  • Do not place Christmas trees, decorations or lights in the means of escape

Electrical lights and decorations

  • Don’t overload electrical circuits
  • All electrical lighting and electrical decorations should be tested before use by a competent person
  • All electrical lighting and electrical decorations should conform to the relevant British Safety Standard (marked with the appropriate Kite or CE mark)
  • Do not place electrical lights or electrical decorations in close proximity to combustible materials
  • Switch all Christmas decorations off at night

Extra stock over the festive period

  • Storage of extra stock should be considered by your fire risk assessment
  • All means of escape, doors, routes, stairways must be kept clear and unobstructed – goods and excess packaging should not be allowed to reduce widths in these areas – even temporarily
  • If you have extra stock you should ensure you have capacity to store the stock safely without blocking the means of escape or any fire exit doors or impinge upon any fire door which has to be kept clear or closed
  • Do not wedge open fire doors
  • You should make sure stock is not in close proximity to ignition sources, or too close to smoke detectors or sprinkler heads as this could affect their operation

Staff training

  • It is essential that all permanent staff and additional staff who may be employed on a temporary basis to cover this busy period are adequately trained regarding the action to be taken in the event of a fire and are made familiar with all fire precautions applicable to your building

Capacity

  • Do not exceed the recommended occupancy limits for your premises (your occupancy limits should be identified in your fire risk assessment)

Covid–19 and fire safety

Should you require further fire safety information please visit our business advice pages.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team please contact your local fire safety officer.

For safety advice in the home please click here.

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This content was last updated on December 09th, 2020