Businesses in Oxfordshire urged not to overlook fire safety

Businesses across Oxfordshire that have had to make changes due to COVID-19 are being urged to make sure fire safety remains a top priority.

The call comes from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service; reminding businesses about the everyday fire risks in the workplace - and that there is both a legal and moral responsibility to ensure premises are safe from fire.

Many local businesses had to respond quickly to the pandemic. When they were allowed to reopen; while considering risk assessments, fire safety may not have been at the forefront of planning.

As part of Business Safety Week – which runs between 07-13 September – Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging business owners and ‘responsible persons’ to ensure they review fire risk assessments. They should also seek guidance and advice to help premises and occupants stay safe from fire.

Businesses must consider the potential risks that COVID-19 secure measures - which are required to open some premises – might, in some cases, compromise fire safety measures.

  • New screens must not obstruct smoke detection;
  • Business must have enough trained staff to support evacuation procedures;
  • Measures to support social distancing must not impact evacuation procedures or the ability of emergency service to help;

Measures should also protect from arson, and help the fire service by reducing false alarms - which currently accounts for about 40% of all emergency calls.

Rob MacDougall, Chief Fire Officer for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“It's been a difficult and challenging time for so many people. We want to make sure that as businesses adapt in response to COVID-19, they remain fire safe.

“Fire can have a devastating impact on business and with the current pressure on the economy, most will never recover after an incident.

“We want to support businesses if they need advice and guidance. We asking all businesses to review their fire risk assessments and make sure they are working safety."

The campaign can be followed on social media using #BusinessSafety2020. Additional advice from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service can be found at website 365Alive.co.uk

Alternatively, call 01865 895999 (8.30am - 5pm Monday – Thursday 8.30am - 4pm Fridays).