Businesses across Merseyside are being urged to check their premises are fire safety compliant as part of a national initiative aimed at reducing the number of fire incidents in the workplace.



Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) was called to 396 fires at non-residential properties last year, 238 of which were accidental and could have been potentially prevented had simple procedures been followed. MFRS hopes to reduce this number by educating local businesses as part of Business Safety Week, which runs from 10th September.

Many fires at businesses are caused as a result of electrical faults, smoking-related incidents or arson.

As part of the campaign, organised by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), businesses are being asked to check a number of things, including that they have working fire alarms, rubbish is stored in a secure area and not left to build up, ensuring fire extinguishers are correctly maintained and making sure stock is stored safely.

Frank Kelly, Protection Compliance Manager from MFRS, said: “Education is a vital part of fire safety and unfortunately a lot of business owners are not fully aware of the responsibilities they have in ensuring their premises are adequately protected against fire.

“We want to make sure that those with responsibility for businesses and public buildings have the information and advice they need to prevent, protect and react to fire incidents in the workplace.

“This is particularly crucial as we get increasingly closer to the Christmas period, when businesses take on new seasonal staff and increase their stock levels ahead of the busy shopping rush.”

Business Fire Safety Advisers from MFRS will be visiting retail premises across the county in the build up to Christmas and are urging people to use Business Safety Week as an opportunity to get prepared.

Frank added: “Many businesses that have a fire in their premises never fully recover from the impact. This can result in loss of jobs, livelihood and amenity in the community. Simple things like testing alarms, ensuring stock and rubbish is stored securely and maintaining firefighting equipment can be the difference between having a thriving business and having one destroyed by fire. It’s also essential that staff, even if just employed on a seasonal basis, are fully trained in both fire safety and how to respond in case of fire.”

As part of Business Safety Week, MFRS will also be giving advice on how to prevent arson attacks and, if needed, fire safety advice for premises with sleeping accommodation.

Mark Hardingham, Chair of NFCC’s Protection and Business Safety Committee, said: “Fire can have a devastating effect on small and medium businesses. This is why the NFCC is committed to making them aware that fire services can help and advise them on reducing their fire risk. We encourage them to get in touch with their local fire service and find out about the help available to them so they can continue to make a valued contribution to the UK economy and local community in a safe and sustainable way.”


Simple checks can save your business:
• Leave fire exits unlocked
• Make sure firefighting equipment is maintained
• Check your fire alarm(s) is working correctly
• Make sure your escape routes are clear
• Store rubbish in secure areas/bins
• Keep flammable materials locked away
• Make sure you know who is on your site at all times
• Fit anti-arson letterboxes
• Lighting, CCTV and fencing will deter criminals

Fire alarm top tips
• Your fire alarm panel should be healthy and showing no fault lights
• Your fire alarm should be tested on a weekly basis
If your alarms activate…
• Staff should follow the agreed fire action plan
• Trained staff should then investigate for signs of a fire
If you know it’s a false alarm, call the Fire Service and let us know

Common causes of fires in the workplace are:
• Electrical faults – don’t overload sockets. Report, identify and dispose of faulty equipment. PAT test your electrical equipment
• Human error – this can be caused by untrained staff not understanding fire hazards. Overcome this with regular training
• Smoking – designated smoking areas should be away from combustible materials. Employees should ensure they extinguish cigarettes properly