Fast food restaurants encouraged to take away fire safety advice

Fire safety advice for fast food restaurants and takeaways is being offered by Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service throughout September; part of National Business Safety Month.

The campaign aims to provide those with responsibility for businesses and public buildings with information and advice to reduce the number of fire incidents and false alarms in the workplace, both of which impact on business safety and productivity.

Businesses are encouraged to ensure they have taken the steps required by law to protect their premises and employees from fire.

During September, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service will be paying particular attention to providing education to the operators of restaurants and takeaways, however their Business Fire Safety web pages hold safety guidance that is relevant to every type of business.

Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service will also be giving advice on preventing arson attacks and reducing false alarms. Where needed they will give guidance for premises with sleeping accommodation adjacent or above, where the means of escape passes though the commercial part of the building.

Dave Bray, Fire Protection and Business Safety Manager – Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, explains: “If a business on the ground floor has bedrooms on the upper floors, and the staircase descends to ground floor where it discharges through the takeaway or restaurant; a fire on the ground floor could trap people in the bedrooms above.

“Another concern is that staff may be sleeping within the commercial area after the premises are closed for business, which could place them at risk.”

Watch Dave's interview on That's Oxfordshire TV here.

The lead up to Christmas can be a busy time for businesses so Fire and Rescue is calling on businesses to take the opportunity now to review risk assessments and escape plans in preparation for increasing custom.

Statistics show that in 2017-18 there were 162 fires in Oxfordshire businesses with about 14% (23) being deliberately set.

County Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “About one third of fires in the workplace are due to electrical faults and misuse of electrical equipment. Most of these fires are likely to be preventable. By taking some simple measures, businesses can learn about how to make their premises and staff safer from fire by visiting our business fire safety web pages, which gives practical advice.

“We know that many small businesses never recover from the damage caused by fire, so it is really important to factor in fire safety.

“Shortcutting fire safety guidelines can have a devastating impact. Imagine a blaze that results in death or injury. The guilt. The risk of prosecution. A criminal record. And the lasting damage to your business and reputation.

“Please, take away our business safety advice.”

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Tips and advice to help businesses with fire safety will be posted on social media throughout the month. On Twitter, check #BusinessSafety19