The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is helping to build safer businesses by offering safety messages during the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC’s) UK Business Safety Week which is taking place from September 11-19, 2017.
The week has been scheduled to run at a time when many businesses will be recruiting additional members of seasonal staff in the run up to the Christmas period.
These new recruits may not have the same level of fire safety awareness as permanent members of staff, and may not be aware of the steps needed to protect themselves, their customers and colleagues.
It is also a good opportunity to remind employers of the need to review fire risk assessments and training and make sure existing staff know the importance of fire safety.
Fire services will be asking businesses to ensure they have taken action to prevent fires in the workplace and to protect themselves from deliberate fires.
Businesses should also make sure their staff know how to respond appropriately in the event of an incident and work with their local fire service to reduce false alarms and enforcment notices.
Fire can cause major disruption for businesses – there is a far greater chance of recovery if risks have been identified, and appropriate arrangements have been put in place to prevent fires starting, or to mitigate their impact.
Assistant Chief Officer David McGown, SFRS director of prevention and protection said:
“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service recognises the importance of protecting lives and safeguarding businesses against financial loss as a result of fire.
“We want to encourage businesses to identify fire risks and to take the necessary preventative action to reduce the risk of fire occurring in the first place.
"Throughout Scotland we have seen a rapid growth of automatic fire alarm systems due to their success in providing an early warning in the event of a fire, saving lives and limiting property damage.
"These successes are welcome, however, they must be balanced against the need for employers to reduce false alarms resulting from these systems.
"When the fire service are dealing with false alarms they are not available to respond to real emergencies, wasting essential resources (putting lives at risk) and disrupting other activities such as training and community fire safety work.
"However, the problem is not exclusive to the fire service as false calls also erode people’s confidence in the value and reliability of a fire alarm system and can cause unnecessary, and costly, business disruption."
Unwanted fire alarm signals are generally caused by human error, malicious activations and faulty/poorly maintained equipment.
NFCC Protection and Enforcement Lead, Mark Hardingham commented:
"I’m delighted that the National Fire Chiefs Council is again working with small and medium size businesses to help them ensure that they are able to operate in a way that is safe from the terrible effects of fire. These businesses make a massive contribution to the UK economy and local communities and we want to help them to do this in a sustainable and safe way."
SFRS is encouraging all businesses across Scotland, who would like to discuss fire prevention, to contact them. More information and advice can be found on our business safety pages - www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/for-businesses/