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Fire fears prompt warning to business bosses during coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 15:55 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:55 07 April 2020

Firefighters have issued advice to business bosses in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Firefighters have issued advice to business bosses in Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Business bosses have been urged to make sure of the safety of their buildings and any staff on site during the coronavirus outbreak.

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has issued advice to owners of businesses which are still open, as well as those which are closed.

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “Businesses should review their fire risk assessment and emergency plan in light of the impact of Covid-19 on their staffing levels, operating times, business processes and evacuation arrangements.

“Our fire and rescue service will continue to attend emergency incidents, but is asking business owners to follow advice to help reduce the risk of a fire occurring on their premises and to ensure that employees and local communities remain as safe as possible.”

• Ensure fire alarms are tested weekly and emergency lights tested monthly

• Check daily to ensure that emergency exits are accessible and that fire alarm points are unobstructed

• Continue fire safety testing and keep ignition sources separate from combustible materials. Even where stockpiling is necessary due to external factors, these safety measures must be followed

• Continue to keep fire doors closed - they should never be propped open

• Ensure any new or temporary staff have had fire safety training and awareness

• Be vigilant of any potential hazards or risk, particularly where staffing levels have reduced or if staff are working alone or in an isolated environment

• If a fire does occur in your premises you must ensure the fire service is called at the earliest opportunity and inform the operator that an evacuation is in progress.

For businesses which have shut, the fire service says owners should reduce the risk of fire by ensuring:

• Entrances and exits are kept clear

• Rubbish and commercial bins are emptied and stored securely away from any buildings

• Any excessive amounts of stock are not stored in a hazardous manner

• All utilities are isolated where possible - if unable to isolate electricity remove all plugs from sockets

• Buildings are secure, with the usual measures in place to prevent arson

• Doors are kept closed

• Any CCTV covering the building is functioning correctly

• If a fire warning and detection system at your premises is linked to an alarm collecting centre they should be advised that the building will be empty and be given up to date contact details of managers.

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