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Fire safety reminder for businesses during Covid-19 pandemic

07 April 2020

Business owners are being reminded to continue to ensure the safety of their buildings and any staff on site during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “Businesses should review their Fire Risk assessment and Emergency Plan in light of the impact of Covid-19 on their staffing levels, operating times, business processes and evacuation arrangements.

“Our fire and rescue service will continue to attend emergency incidents, but is asking business owners to follow advice to help reduce the risk of a fire occurring on their premises and to ensure that employees and local communities remain as safe as possible.”

Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service advises steps that businesses should take to reduce risk of fire.

For businesses that remain open, owners need to;

  • Ensure that fire alarms are tested weekly and emergency lights tested monthly
  • Check daily to ensure that emergency exits are accessible and that fire alarm points are unobstructed
  • Continue fire safety testing and keep ignition sources separate from combustible materials. Even where stockpiling is necessary due to external factors, these safety measures must be followed
  • Continue to keep fire doors closed - they should never be propped open
  • Ensure any new or temporary staff have had fire safety training and awareness
  • Be vigilant of any potential hazards or risk, particularly where staffing levels have reduced or if staff are working alone or in an isolated environment

If a fire does occur in your premises you must ensure the fire service is called at the earliest opportunity and inform the operator that an evacuation is in progress.

For businesses that have closed, owners can reduce the risk of fire by ensuring:

  • Entrances and exits are kept clear
  • Rubbish and commercial bins are emptied and stored securely away from any buildings 
  • Any excessive amounts of stock are not stored in a hazardous manner
  • All utilities are isolated where possible - if unable to isolate electricity remove all plugs from sockets
  • Buildings are secure, with the usual measures in place to prevent arson
  • Doors are kept closed
  • Any CCTV covering the building is functioning correctly

If a fire warning and detection system at your premises is linked to an alarm collecting centre they should be advised that the building will be empty and be given up to date contact details of managers.

If your building is connected or adjacent to a home and you have a shared fire alarm, you must arrange for the weekly testing to take place.

If you wish to contact a member of the Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service Business Fire Safety Team please e-mail hq@fire.norfolk.gov.uk or call 0300 123 1669.

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