Next week is NFCC Business Safety Week. Introduced by the National Fire Chiefs Council, the campaign week provides an opportunity for Fire and Rescue Services across the country to raise awareness of the support and help available to UK businesses.
Each year, Business Safety Week focuses on several main themes to help businesses ensure they are complying with the law and keeping their staff, visitors and companies safe from potential fire risks. This year, the campaign will focus on four main areas: preventing arson, reducing false alarms, preventing common causes of business fires and protecting sleeping accommodation.
There are more than 5,000 arson attacks in the UK every year. Arson can have a serious impact on a business and, although you can’t guarantee it will never happen to you, there are steps you can take to help prevent it.
This year’s Business Safety Week will focus on the steps you can take to reduce the risk of arson on your business premises. These include guidelines on how to take care of any rubbish, one of the easiest targets for a potential arsonist. Businesses should make sure that rubbish doesn’t pile up too much and store it away from buildings to reduce this risk. Anti-arson letter boxes can also be fitted.
Another easy way to help prevent an arson attack is to review the security and access to your premises, and take action to increase security where possible. It’s also important to report any signs of fire or other anti-social behaviour to the police.
Reducing false alarms
When a fire alarm rings without the presence of a fire, this is called a false alarm. False alarms can happen for a number of reasons, including accidental damage to the system, faults in the system or when someone sets off an alarm without a fire.
False alarms may not seem like a big deal, but they can have a significant impact on businesses. Not only do they disrupt the business concerned – and lead to an increased risk of theft and business losses – but they impact on Fire and Rescue resources, meaning they may be unable to deal with real emergencies. In turn, this can put other businesses, properties and lives at risk.
Preventing common causes of business fires
The first step to reducing the risk of fire in the workplace is making sure the staff are aware of the risks. Around 33% of accidental fires that break out in UK workplaces are electrical fires. Most of these are caused by electrical faults or misuse of equipment – both of which can be reduced if staff know what to look out for. Business Safety Week 2019 aims to raise awareness of these risks among employers so they can educate their staff and help prevent fires in their companies.
Protecting sleeping accommodation
The final focus of this year’s Business Safety Week is sleeping accommodation. This applies to any business that offers sleeping accommodation within the same building and aims to raise awareness on how to protect this accommodation against fire. This includes things like having clear escape routes, fitting an audible alarm and making sure rubbish doesn’t accumulate around the property.