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Don't let severe weather leave your business open to fire risks

Businesses are being warned to make sure that the cold snap doesn’t put the freeze on fire prevention
Fire Safety Officers are urging firms to pay attention to fire safety before it is too late
Businesses are being warned to make sure that the cold snap doesn't put the freeze on fire prevention.

With so many workers unable to get in to work because of extremely treacherous road conditions, Kent Fire and Rescue Service is worried that fire safety measures could be forgotten or even ignored - and that this could see business owners hopes, dreams and their employees jobs going up in smoke.

This is why Fire Safety Officers are urging firms to pay attention to fire safety before it is too late.

John Pereira Head of Fire Safety said: "We know that many businesses are struggling to keep open during this period of bad weather, with most operating with skeleton staff. But while they are focusing on trying to keep up and running, fire prevention and safety issues may be taking a back seat.

"Our warning is that it is vital that firms pay attention to fire prevention and their legal obligations or they could end up going out of business - and it is not just property at risk, it is people's lives and livelihoods.

"In times of staff shortages, risk assessments should be part of your business continuity planning and we want to dispel any misconceptions that this is a difficult process, protecting your business from fire has never been more vital - or easier to do."

All businesses are now affected by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 which came into force in 2006. These laws mean the responsibility for fire safety lies with employers.

John added: "With the cold weather set to continue into next week, we urge all firms to check that they have the necessary steps in place to protect their staff and premises from the risk of fire for the sake of both their workers and the viability of their business."

Follow these tips to keep your business safe from the threat of fire:

CLEANLINESS AND TIDINESS

"Our warning is that it is vital that firms pay attention to fire prevention and their legal obligations or they could end up going out of business"

  • Keep the workplace clear of flammable waste and rubbish
  • Put waste in a safe, secure place awaiting collection
  • Keep areas outside the building clear of waste material and flammable items
  • Keep any waste that has to be stored outside the main building, covered and secured and, if possible, in an outbuilding, to prevent arson attacks.

STORAGE AREAS

  • Inspect storage areas for fire hazards at the end of the working day
  • Clear spaces around shelving and stacks of stored materials, and make sure there are adequate gangways provided between them
  • Make sure stocks and shelves arranged so that sprinkler heads and fire detectors are not obstructed

HEATING AND LIGHTING

  • Make sure portable heaters have the necessary guards and are fixed to prevent them being knocked over
  • Make sure that any flammable materials and waste are kept at a safe distance from heating appliances and flues.

MAINTENANCE OF BUILDINGS

  • Make sure every point of entry to the site and buildings is secure against intruders, but still allows employees to escape from a fire
  • Make sure all internal fire-resisting doors kept closed at all times when not in use

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