Businesses should train their staff now to help businesses avoid a serious fire this Christmas, the fire service has warned.
Retailers, bars and hotels are amongst the businesses expected to start taking on thousands of temporary staff to cope with an increase in trade in the run up to the winter, seasonal peak.
Fire officers say that fire safety knowledge should be a key part of their initial training, with December considered a peak month for fire risks, including extra stock and winter shutdown periods
The warning comes during UK Business Safety Week (7 to 13 September). The awareness week, coordinated nationally by the Chief Fire Officer’s Association (CFOA), seeks to get businesses to engage with local fires services to help manage their fire risk, get advice on completing fire risk assessments and ensure business continuity.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) has tackled more than 500 fires in non-domestic properties over 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, but make sure you leave a good distance between your stock and sprinkler heads
SYFR Technical fire safety manager, Amy Jenkinson, said: “A fire in a business can put staff and customers’ lives at risk, damage stock and premises and make it impossible for a company to carry out its day-to-day work, impacting not only on the business itself, but on its employees, suppliers and customers.”
“We know that many businesses will be starting to take on temporary employees now. All we ask is that they deliver training in some basic fire safety procedures, like keeping fire escapes clear and making sure alarm systems are working properly. This can help businesses avoid serious incident and help ensure they comply with the law.”