Fire Service urges businesses to make fire safety a priority

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service are urging businesses to put fire safety first during the Coronavirus outbreak, after receiving reports of people propping open fire doors to prevent staff from touching door handles. 

Whilst the Service appreciates that the situation regarding coronavirus is unprecedented, it is essential that fire safety remains a priority.

If you are propping open fire doors, then please close them and adhere to the Government’s advice on washing your hands regularly and maintaining social distancing. In addition, please make sure that that you are looking after your automatic fire alarm systems to ensure that unnecessary call outs are reduced.

Talking about the importance of fire safety, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Services Group Commander for Protection, Roland Bayley said: “We are aware that there some businesses have been propping open fire doors to prevent staff from having to touch door handles. We know that this has been done with the best intentions, however fire doors should not be propped open. They are there to save lives and slow the spread of fire, to give your staff the time they need to safely evacuate the building. Without them, the risk of fire death greatly increases.

“Equally, we are mindful of businesses who may be storing extra stock in order to cope with increased demand. Where stockpiling of essentials has become necessary, be aware of the increased risk of fire. Ensure that your stock does not come into contact with ignition sources such as heaters or light fittings and does not compromise any escape routes.”

Those responsible for fire safety on the premises are also being reminded to review their fire risk assessments regularly, as the coronavirus situation continually changes. This includes reviewing the following:

Staffing levels, for example in care homes, should be maintained to ensure the emergency plan can be effectively managed

Any contingency planning should include emergency evacuation

Maintain physical fire safety measures to prevent fire spread. We do not recommend propping open fire doors to minimise contact and spread of the virus.

Business are advised to follow?Public Health Guidance, particularly hand washing and social distancing

Staff to be extra vigilant to prevent accidental fires, immediately reporting any issues identified

For urgent matters and where it is considered that there may be a risk to life, the attendance of a Fire Safety Officer will be made. Officers will be provided with extra personal protection to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread.

For fire safety information and advice, visit – https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fire-safety-businesses or look at our Coronavirus Business Fire Safety Guide.