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While there’s still a lot up in the air at the moment with regards to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, some offices have returned to business. But was fire safety forgotten during the COVID-19 induced lockdown?

Changed retail landscape

The UK’s high street is making a slow return to business, thanks in part to the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme and somewhat relaxed social distancing measures. With fewer customers in stores, the retail landscape looks very different now than it did last year.

Many high street businesses used the COVID-19 lockdown period to make improvements and adapt to a new way of doing business and conducting deep cleans and installing equipment to aid social distancing.

Fire risk assessments and fire safety protocols

After a building has been dormant for months at a time, the key fire safety systems need to be properly investigated

But one aspect that can’t ever be overlooked, even during the COVID-19 global pandemic spread, is the importance of fire safety. Large high street shops and malls with fire curtain installations must ensure that they have updated fire risk assessments and post-lockdown fire safety protocols, along with strictly adhering to them.

After a building has been dormant for months at a time, the key fire safety systems need to be properly investigated. For example, Legionnaires’ disease can develop in plumbing systems that haven’t experienced movement in long periods due to prolonged lockdown.

The disease is ironically similar to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its symptoms similarly include cough, shortness of breath and a high fever. The first run of a tap or flush of a toilet in a seldom or less used building could cause the disease to be released into the air with devastating effects, especially given the massive pressure already exerted on the healthcare infrastructure.

Fire and smoke curtains’ maintenance & service

These investigations must be extended to fire safety systems as well. Regular maintenance and servicing of fire curtains and smoke curtains are very essential, so as to ensure that they are in perfect working condition when needed. But after a long spell of unoccupied disuse, anything could have happened to a business premise and installed systems.

Power surges may have caused unseen damage, for example, a water leak could have occurred and even animals may have nested in key mechanisms. It’s important to make sure that all fire curtains, smoke curtains, alarms and escape signage are in full working order, before a building is reoccupied for business use.

Importance of fire drills and mock evacuations

Coopers Fire has deep expertise in the space of commercial fire curtains for retail applications

Complacency can kill. A worldwide pandemic, like the ongoing COVID-19 viral infection spread, is still not a good enough reason to let fire safety standards slip. To reinforce those safety standards, teams should regularly carry out fire drills and mock evacuations from premises to make sure everyone knows the fire safety protocols.

Coopers Fire has deep expertise in the space of commercial fire curtains for retail applications, from consultancy and specification through to installation and maintenance.

Expert in fire safety for public spaces

Coopers’ experience in fire safety for public spaces extends around the world and they have been credited with installing the world’s largest FireMaster Concertina in a shopping mall in Singapore, and were consulted and specified the fire safety equipment installed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE and smoke curtains installed at Sydney Opera House, in Sydney, Australia.

Coopers Fire is always developing, testing and improving their fire protection products, in order to ensure that they are always positioned at the cutting edge of fire safety.

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