During these difficult times - as we all work together to combat the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is committed to ensuring that your business and your employees remain safe from fire.
It is imperative that we all play our part and follow the Government guidelines on social distancing and home working. However, businesses that remain partially or fully open are still required to ensure their fire safety measures are adequate and fire protection equipment is maintained.
Fire Risk Assessment
It is important that when changes in measures to control the spread of Covid-19 are implemented following Government guidance, they are also considered in the context of your premises’ fire risk assessments (opens in a new tab), to help manage and mitigate the risk of fire as much as much as reasonably practicable.
Any significant changes identified should be recorded where necessary and actioned as required within appropriate timescales.
During this period it is strongly recommended that you regularly review your fire risk assessment.
Consider the following:
Take all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of fire, for example, isolating all non-essential equipment, services and machinery.
Changes in risk
The level of risk associated with your premises may have increased due to the current situation, for example, increased waste, storage, additional stock levels. This should be addressed as part of your updated fire risk assessment.
Testing and maintenance of fire safety equipment
Your fire safety equipment, including detection and warning systems, sprinklers, emergency lighting and extinguishers need to remain in good working order and should be regularly tested and maintained as normal.
Are there still appropriate numbers of staff to ensure evacuation can be safely completed?
With the reduction in staff numbers you should consider if the detection and warning system in place is adequate to warn relevant people of fire.
Changes in fire safety measures
Any changes in risk identified during your fire risk assessment review should be communicated to all employees, and where measures are put in place necessary training should be provided.
Ensure your premises are secure and any waste or combustible items are stored safely, securely and where possible away from the premises.
Shared intelligence suggests some building users are wedging open self-closing fire doors as a Covid-19 control measure (intended to reduce the need to touch locks and door handles). Self-closing fire doors are fitted within your premises to prevent the spread of smoke and fire and to protect and maintain escape routes. It is essential that these doors are kept shut at all times.
GMFRS strongly recommends that you speak with your insurance company to ensure that your policy still covers your premises at this time.
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Business Fire Safety (Covid-19)