The advice comes after recognition that any businesses still open, for example supermarkets and distribution centres, may have additional stock and people working, which could adversely affect means of escape and staff understanding of safety measures.
For those businesses forced to close under the current guidance, the fire risk should be mitigated by completing full shut down procedures, including isolating any electrical items. The risk of arson should be reduced by ensuring premises are secure, with any rubbish, bins or skips moved away from buildings.
Matt White, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue fire safety lead, said, “Under the current Covid-19 guidance, we continue to respond to serious fire safety concerns, however we are calling on business owners to assist in ensuring fire safety standards are maintained while businesses are not operating as they normally would. Compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is still of upmost importance to protect businesses and people from fire. For those businesses open, simple tests to check the escape route is clear and accessible at all times must be completed as well as measures to ensure there are adequately trained staff on site at all times.”
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue are also discouraging people who may need to self-isolate from doing so in a place of work that may not have been designed for sleeping.
Matt added, “The fire safety measures within buildings are designed for their specific use and often do not include people sleeping. It may therefore not have the necessary fire safety measures installed to make this a safe practice.”
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