COVID-19 has had a huge impact on businesses across the County, with many choosing to make some of the changes in work processes, incorporated during the pandemic permanent. Therefore, if your premises operating hours have changed which may include being closed at certain times or are only occupied by a small number of staff, please consider:
- Staff working from home – Encourage staff to consider fire safety within their homes and test their smoke alarms. Lots of information about fire safety in the home can be found on our website.
- Arson – Extra care should be taken if your premises are vacant. Ensure the premises are secure and any combustibles left externally are removed from the site or stored securely. Do not store combustible items close to the premises and consider external deterrents such as external lighting and CCTV.
- Consider lone workers – With fewer people working within the premises you should consider if your fire detection and warning arrangements are still suitable to alert lone or fewer occupants.
- Shared means of escape – If your premises have a shared means of escape securing your premises should not affect the means of escape from other premises which are still open, (Including residential buildings) or where wayleave agreements are in place.
How have Fire and Rescue Services changed the way they work with businesses?
Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) should adopt a risk-based approach to undertaking auditing and other Protection activities. Carrying out duties under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) should take place with due regard for the need to protect staff and the public from exposure to COVID-19. It is a requirement that FRSs continue their regulatory and legislative duties during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it is deemed safe to do so. Therefore, FRSs should be operating a normal range of activities whilst undertaking a suitable risk assessment. This is based upon:
- Restricting the spread of COVID-19;
- Minimise staff and public risk to COVID-19;
- Demonstration that an effective assessment of risk has been undertaken, showing a physical (or suitable alternative) visit is appropriate against the assessed risk from COVID-19.
Fire Safety Inspectors will follow the latest government COVID-19 guidance.
- For further guidance from the National Fire Chief's Council, please see their Advice to Businesses (.pdf, 13 pages, 518kb).
- For further guidance from the Health and Safety Executive, please see their advice on working safely during COVID-19.
- Please see the government website to find their guidance on working safely during COVID-19.