The global coronavirus pandemic threw the world into lockdown. Only now are businesses, schools and places of worship beginning to return to operations – making this the best time to reevaluate fire safety, from strategy to equipment.
Every office, retail outlet, restaurant and public facing-environment must have the basics covered. After a long stint away from work, it’ll be important to make sure everything’s working and stocked.
No matter how small the store, or how open-plan and visible the office layout is – you must have adequate, working fire detection and alarm systems in place. These must be regularly tested by your responsible person. Make sure that all fire alarm systems are tested and all issues resolved before staff are phased back into work.
Keeping and maintaining fire extinguishers is a commitment that every business must stick to. They need to be inspected once a year by a qualified technician. If you need replacements, they can be ordered online – but make sure you get the right fire extinguisher for your needs.
In kitchen environments, fire blankets should be kept for use in tandem with the appropriate fire extinguishers, should a fire escalate. In any case, proper fire safety training should be given to your team on how and when to use fire extinguishers and blankets.
A clean, clear, protected means of escape is a bare necessity in any place of business. Piles of boxes, paperwork or old stock in hallways leading to fire escapes can cause injury or even death – so make sure nothing has accumulated in these areas while staff numbers have been reduced. Ensure that escape signage is visible and is still working properly (if using illuminated signage).
First Aid Supplies
Your team needs a regularly checked and restocked first aid kit – and a trained first aider on site. Medical supplies can go out of date, so make sure you’re always up to date with adequate stock quantities for your team.
Revisit Your Fire Strategy
Social distancing might have relaxed, but there’s still a virus to tackle and maintaining distance with minimal contact is the safest way to contain it. Fire drills may have to change to accommodate this.
Can you safely congregate in your designated assembly point, while maintaining the 1m+ rule? Will you need to make any special amendments to your safety planning to ensure safe passage while minimising contact?
It’s difficult to know exactly what to do for any particular business – every building, operation and team varies. But it’ll be vitally important to check your fire safety plan as you resume operations.
Fire Protection for Business
At Coopers Fire, we’re always developing, testing and improving our products – to keep us at the cutting edge of fire safety. To find out more about our commercial fire curtains, or to enrol in one of our educational training courses, call us on 02392 454 405 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.