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30 June 2020

Fire safety advice for business re-opening after lockdown

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is asking local businesses which are re-opening following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to ensure their workplace is safe for employees and customers to return.

Since social distancing measures were put in place, it’s likely a number of changes have been introduced in workplaces to help staff work while adhering to restrictions.

To help businesses to remain fire compliant, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has compiled a checklist of issues to consider before allowing anyone back into premises, including:

  • Review your fire risk assessment
  • Keep your escape routes clear and accessible
  • Check your fire safety systems and equipment 
  • Arrange a staff training refresh

Stuart Hook, Protection manager at Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s really important for business to remain fire compliant after an extended time away from the workplace. Employers should ensure all fire risk assessments and procedures are up to date and in place. Staff might be returning to a new layout, or you might have recruited new employees, so a training refresh is advised to make sure everyone knows the current and correct procedures of what to do in the event of a fire.”

Key issues for businesses to consider before re-opening:

Staff

If you’re back in business make sure changes to staff numbers or working practices do not impact your fire safety. Have you got enough trained staff at any one time and have any changes been communicated to staff?

 

If you have moved staff around to help with social distancing in the workplace, make sure they can still clearly hear alarms and know how to evacuate in the event of an emergency.

 

Protection measures

 

Many businesses have taken steps to protect people from COVID19. Make sure the installation of measures such as plastic screens do not obstruct fire safety measures like sprinklers or smoke alarms.

 

Review your Fire Risk Assessment. If your business is back to work, review your site and make sure escape routes are clear and clutter free. Ensure they are not used to store additional stock and exit doors are easily accessible.

 

Fire Doors

Fire doors must not be propped open to discourage touching of door handles. Encourage regular handwashing, keep fire doors closed to keep your premises, customers and staff safe.

Evacuation plans and drills

Make sure your staff know what to do if there is a fire. If your premises have made changes or your staff need training, a desktop drill can help


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Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is asking local businesses which are re-opening following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to ensure their workplace is safe for employees and customers to return.