WEST YORKSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has produced a fire safety advice leaflet for business premises ‘preparing to reopen’ as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown is eased.
WYFRS stated in a press release that as the lockdown ‘is set to ease over the next few weeks with more shops and retail outlets due to open to the public’, it was ‘reminding business owners to be vigilant’ about fire safety within premises by producing a leaflet to ‘refresh people’s minds about fire safety regulation’. The leaflet, Returning to Work after Covid-19 Lockdowns, contains ‘top tips of what to be vigilant about once the shutter open up after weeks away’.
It added that the leaflet ‘helps business owners know their responsibilities around fire safety in the workplace in order to keep employees and customers safe’, and provides guidance on ‘keeping fire exits clear’ as well as ‘regular testing of fire alarm systems’ and ‘keeping fire risk assessments up to date’. The advice is ‘also applicable’ for school premises, WYFRS noted.
Chris Kemp, WYFRS’ senior fire protection manager, commented: ‘More commercial premises are set to get the green light to open up again and it’s important that we all focus on the measures that will be in place to safeguard people as much as possible from the spread of Coronavirus. At this time we also want to take the opportunity to remind people to be vigilant to ensure that fire safety measures remain present in premises in order to keep staff and the public safe.
‘Fire doors, fire exits, escape routes and regular testing of fire alarm systems, are vital and just some of the topics covered in our leaflet, which is a quick and easy read. One concern we have is that people may be tempted to wedge fire doors open to limit any transmission of the virus through the touching of handles or the door plate. This creates a serious fire risk because if a fire door is wedged open and a fire occurs in the premises it would spread freely which could put people’s lives in danger.
‘Our advice is to keep fire doors shut and clean handles and door plates regularly to mitigate the risk of virus transmission.’