East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is calling on retailers to act responsibly as they enter the busy Christmas period.
Many retailers will have stocked up on products to sell in the run up to the big day however there are concerns that this could impact on fire safety. It is estimated that up to 80% of businesses that suffer a serious fire close within 18 months.
Richard Moon from the Service’s Business Safety team said: “We want business in Brighton and Hove to have a profitable and enjoyable Christmas. Even a small fire could ruin that.
“Many shops will be carrying a lot of additional stock and this needs to be stored in a way that doesn’t block fire exits or cause additional fire risks. For example, packaging is a big problem.
“This needs to be disposed of properly and not left stacked up outside buildings for days on end. This will help reduce the chances of someone deliberately starting a fire.“
He added: “We also know that shops will take on additional staff to deal with the crowds. These people need to know what to do in an emergency. Please ensure you have trained them so they can help get your customers out safely. They should know what to do if you have an automatic fire alarm and it is set off accidentally.
“Christmas decorations and displays can also increase the chances of a fire or of people being unable to escape easily. Care should be taken about where they are set up and any lighting displays should be properly installed and checked.
“We advise managers to carry out a fire risk assessment to take into account any changes at this particularly busy time of year. The risk assessment that you must carry out will help you ensure that your fire safety procedures, fire prevention measures, and fire precautions, are all in place and working properly, and the risk assessment should identify any issues that need attention.2
Click here for more advice on risk assessments and other business safety, call 01323 462 130 or email west.BusinessSafety@esfrs.org.
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