Businesses of Lancashire,
As further COVID restrictions have been lifted, businesses within Lancashire are now able to trade again. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind businesses that fire safety measures and maintenance should not be ignored and still need to be maintained.
LFRS has inspected a range of licensed premises across Lancashire since the lifting of Covid restrictions. This has identified some early learning which we would like to share so that you, your staff and customers are safe and, crucially during such challenging times, businesses are not further impacted by the devastating effects a fire inevitably has.
As the Responsible Person (RP) it is a requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 that adequate fire safety measures and provisions are in place to ensure the safety of all relevant persons who are legally on your premises.
Many businesses, now that they have re-opened are experiencing changes in risk. In all cases, businesses should be aware of these changes in risk and review their Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) accordingly. RPs should seek advice from a competent fire risk assessor where doubt exists.
RPs are reminded that they are responsible for:
- Ensuring fire safety.
- Protective and preventative measures.
- The safety of any employees and relevant persons on their premises.
Although measures have been implemented to support Covid compliance, aspects of fire safety which are essential to support a safe re-opening have, in a number of cases, been neglected. The areas of non-compliance found are the sort which are likely to put lives at risk. In addition the lack of ‘preventative actions’ means that in some cases fires are now also more likely to happen and have much more damaging consequences.
For example: Cleaning of ductwork in kitchens cancelled during lockdown has not been re-booked, and simple arson prevention measures being neglected so that waste is being stored in very exposed locations).
Whilst it is understandable that licensed premises have committed significant time and resource into Covid compliance it is essential that adequate fire safety measures are also fully re-instated.
The following are trends our inspectors have noted;
- Changes being made to fire doors, escape routes and emergency procedures and Fire Risk Assessments not be reviewed accordingly
- Daily / Weekly testing of fire alarms not being recommenced
- Monthly testing of emergency lights not being recommenced
- Annual maintenance of fire safety systems (fire alarms / emergency lighting, sprinklers etc) which were cancelled during lockdown not being re-instated
- Blocked fire escape routes and Fire Doors and release mechanisms sticking
- Fire doors being wedged or held open
- Staff being trained in Covid processes but not receiving appropriate fire safety training
- Inadequate planning of evacuation procedures meaning social distancing might be compromised during the evacuation and at the fire assembly point
Our website contains general fire safety information as well as a dedicated page covering fire safety during Covid.
If you would like to get in contact or book a visit with one of our Business Safety Advisors, please email: BSA@lancsfirerescue.org.uk