Fire and rescue services (FRS) attended 566,572 incidents in the year ending September 2017 – a 3% year-on-year increase – according to the latest Home Office statistics.
The numbers also revealed that of all incidents attended by FRS in that time frame, fires accounted for 30% and non-fire incidents for 31% The remaining 39% were triggered by fire false alarms, the most common reason for callouts.
In light of these figures, Bull Products, a manufacturer of life-saving fire protection equipment, has shared four vital steps a business can take to protect itself and building occupants from a fire:
In every workplace, the owner or employer has a legal responsibility to carry out a fire-risk assessment – this includes identifying and understanding the risks involved.
According to HSE, these five steps should be carried out:
- Identify the hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
- Record significant findings
- Review the assessment and update where necessary
Although a fire cannot be completely prevented, there are several actions a business can take to minimise the risk of fire breaking out:
- Keep areas free of clutter, like paper, that could easily catch fire or prevent access to exits and emergency equipment
- Ensure electrical appliances are switched off and plugs are removed before leaving the building
- Ensure electrical appliances are safe to use by carrying out regular PAT tests
- Replace frayed power cords and ensure cord protectors are used
- Don’t block exits or fire doors with boxes – ensure these are kept clear at all times
- Store hazardous materials safely and make sure these are clearly marked
Initial and refresher fire training will ensure workers are prepared in the event of a fire and know what actions to take so that safety remains a top priority.
Frequent drills and review procedures will allow workers to familiarise themselves with the fire safety equipment on site and feel confident when using the equipment.
To protect employees, reliable fire alarms are crucial in alerting people of the danger and saving lives in the event of a fire. It’s important that buildings have fire alarms located in the correct places, and the right type of alarm depending on the building or site.
Additionally, fire extinguishers ensure emergency fire responders are able to swiftly select the type of extinguisher required to tackle a blaze. It’s also important to ensure fire extinguishers are placed in the correct areas such as corridors, stairways, and landings, so they are highly visible to those following an escape route.