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WYFRS recommends to review the fire assessment as soon as possible after everyone returns from lockdown and systems and provisions are maintained to check they are working correctly.

Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, commented: “We are pleased to see Fire and Rescue Service information mirrors what BAFE has been advising as we begin the process of returning to a ‘new normal’. Many business premises will have changed the way they operate due to new coronavirus safety measures. This will prompt an immediate requirement to review the fire risk assessment [recommended in the WYFRS information] and any actions required from the result of this to be undertaken in the interest of life safety.”

Reminding business owners

BAFE warns fire safety should be addressed as soon as possible as all ease out of coronavirus lockdown. Remember, don't just specify, verify! When sourcing help, make sure to specify competent fire safety providers and verify their Third Party Certification is appropriate and valid for the work required.

As the Coronavirus lockdown is set to ease over the next few weeks with more shops and retail outlets due to open to the public, the Fire Service is reminding business owners to be vigilant about fire safety within their premises. To refresh people’s minds about fire safety regulation West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has created a handy leaflet with some top tips of what to be vigilant about once the shutters open up after weeks away.

Fire alarm systems

More commercial premises are set to get the green light to open up again"

The leaflet, called ‘Returning to Work after COVID-19 Lockdowns,’ is available on the Fire Service website and helps business owners know their responsibilities around fire safety in the workplace in order to keep employees and customers safe. It gives top tips on everything from keeping fire exits and escape routes clear, to the regular testing of fire alarm systems and keeping fire risk assessments up to date.

Whilst aimed at business owners, the advice is also applicable for school premises. Senior Fire Protection Manager Chris Kemp said: “More commercial premises are set to get the green light to open up again and it’s important that we all focus on the measures that will be in place to safeguard people as much as possible from the spread of Coronavirus.”

Fire safety measures

At this time we also want to take the opportunity to remind people to be vigilant to ensure that fire safety measures remain present in premises in order to keep staff and the public safe. Fire doors, fire exits, escape routes and regular testing of fire alarm systems, are vital and just some of the topics covered in our leaflet, which is a quick and easy read.”

One concern we have is that people may be tempted to wedge fire doors open to limit any transmission of the virus through the touching of handles or the door plate. This creates a serious fire risk because if a fire door is wedged open and a fire occurs in the premises it would spread freely which could put people’s lives in danger. Our advice is to keep fire doors shut and clean handles and door plates regularly to mitigate the risk of virus transmission.”

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