The latest government guidelines will see many more shops and businesses reopening from 15 June. The return to some sort of normality will be critical to employers, but the fire safety of staff and customers alike should play a 'key' part in the 'unlock' plan.
On return to your premises, it may be necessary to review and update the premises' Fire Risk Assessment to ensure it is current and reflects the way the premises will be operating going forward.
Points to be considered may include (not exhaustive):
- Where staffing and occupant levels have changed this may affect evacuation arrangements in event of fire. Test any new evacuation procedures and think about social distancing at evacuation rendezvous points
- Where parts of the premises are not being used or are being used differently e.g. working and operating practices may have changed or rearrangement of your layout, this may affect the means of escape
- Ensuring means of escape are easily available, as they may not have been used for some time or, where an escape route is shared, other premises may remain closed.
- Fire exits should not be locked, blocked or recommended travel distances increased, nor should fire doors be wedged open
- Reviewing measures implemented to increase security and reduce the risk of arson whilst the premises have not been used, as these may have adversely affected fire safety measures
- Reviewing storage and stock levels e.g. the type, amount and positioning of stock may increase the fire risk
- Review fire safety measures where they have not been maintained e.g. automatic fire alarm and detection systems or emergency lighting and firefighting equipment may have not received their routine servicing or testing.
- Staff training – if this has not been undertaken for some time or new staff have started, then they should be provided with appropriate fire safety training.
These key points are covered more comprehensively on the NFCC website.