The global pandemic has had far reaching effects. On the surface it is a health crisis, but it has also had a knock on effect on education, travel and businesses. One major area of concern is how the pandemic has affected fire safety. So how has business fire safety been affected, and what can you do to make your business safer?
How has fire safety in businesses been affected by the pandemic?
Routines went out of the window for most people during the pandemic. No school run, no commute, no weekly football practice, no gym, no toddler group or weekend cocktails with friends. Unfortunately this also meant that, in some cases, safety routines were also suspended.
It was quite quickly confirmed that fire safety precautions must carry on throughout the pandemic. This includes regular fire alarm testing and maintenance of fire protection systems. The responsible person should ensure that regular fire alarm testing takes place. The RRO states this should be carried out regularly. Weekly testing is necessary to meet the British Standard requirement. Fire alarm tests should be recorded in the log book and provide a regular check that the system is working. It can alert you to any problems with the system. If your building is empty, who is testing your fire alarm?
On top of this, fire alarms require regular maintenance by a competent person, even if the building is left empty. An empty building is often more susceptible to a break in, criminal damage or arson. At Keybury, we were designated as “key workers” as keeping fire alarms working well helps to protect people and property and reduce the pressure on the emergency services.
During the initial lockdown period of 2020 businesses premises were left empty. In some cases this put buildings at risk. New figures from the Office of National Statistics confirm that the pandemic has indeed affected fire safety. According to the FIA, the ONS recorded a rise in incidents of arson during lockdown. The ABI also reports an increase in fire insurance claims.
What can you do to make your business safer?
There are a few ways to reduce the risk of fire at your premises. Regularly checking the perimeter of your property is secured and using CCTV to deter arsonists is advisable. Keeping your premises clear of rubbish ensures there’s little fuel to start a fire with. Staff training is also key to business fire safety. A team who are vigilant, keep the area tidy and ensure the property is secure can make all the difference.
The most essential equipment to protect your business from the threat of fire is a working fire alarm system. If your business will be left empty, perhaps consider a monitored system. It’s important that a designated person should regularly visit the property to ensure it is safe, or this could be done via CCTV and monitored alarms.
It’s always best to use trained professionals to design install and maintain your fire protection systems, such as Keybury’s FIA trained designers and engineers. Opting for an independently approved company can also give you peace of mind that your fire protection systems are being well maintained. Keybury are both BAFE and NSI Gold approved for fire alarm maintenance as well as for design, installation & commissioning.
Find out more about Keybury’s Fire Protection Services or request a free quotation: