Interesting Fact: 43% of all fires happen in the winter
Winter is finally here and the fact it has arrived means that statistically there is a higher chance that a fire in your property will happen over the next few months. The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) estimates that 60% of privately owned businesses never recover from fire and its knock-on effects. More importantly, there is a much higher cost, the graph below, published in April 2016, illustrates the number of deaths, injuries and fatalities in businesses and schools over 10 years. Added to the tragic loss of life, government figures estimate the cost of each fatality as £1.65m.
Image courtesy of: CFOA
As well as during the winter, the likelihood of fire increases in times of recession. The tragedy is, when businesses are feeling the effects of recession times that fire safety is often the victim of cuts. Fire is one of the most disastrous things to happen to a business, loss of information, materials, jobs and the effects on the community are difficult to quantify. Putting a fire safety contingency plan in place could make the difference. After a fire, inspectors will check the building to see if the business was complying with all the relevant guidelines, if the business failed to do so, the insurance company is highly unlikely to pay out. Businesses can suffer heavy fines if they are found to be failing to comply to safety regulations.
Fire Safety Checklist – How fire safe is your business?
Your aim is fire prevention; it is essential to have a solid contingency plan in place to minimise the risk of fire and to limit the damage and consequences should a fire occur.
- After consultation with all relevant people within the organisation, draw up a comprehensive fire procedure, rehearse it then adapt it accordingly. Bear in mind during practice, that real fire smoke will cause disorientation and confusion.
- Ensure machinery is serviced and maintained by qualified people. Ideally, turn machinery off when not in use/overnight.
- Do not leave flammable materials outside your premises in locations that can be accessed by the public.
- Check access to the building is secured when business is unattended.
- Security lighting can deter unwanted visitors.
- Store any dangerous substances safely and in accordance with guidelines.
- Keep all access points and thoroughfares clear of obstruction.
- Check your insurance, is it up to date and adequate for your business?
Limiting Fire damage
If the worst happens and your business does suffer fire damage, there are steps that you can take to minimise the damage.
- Staff training! Does everybody know exactly how to act in the event of different types of fire and the potential locations within the business?
- Consider storing important documents in a separate location and make sure you back up and store IT systems regularly
- Your contingency plan should include a workable procedure to follow to ensure continuity of business where possible.
- Research accredited fire damage remediation providers now, find a reputable provider that covers your area and introduce them to your business. Know who to contact and do so at the earliest opportunity. Secondary damage caused by fire is ongoing and should be halted quickly to reduce costs and preserve property.
Ideal Response have provided fire damage remediation to businesses across London, Kent, Essex, Sussex, Surry, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and the south east since 2001, we are happy to assist you in keeping safe or to return you to safety if your business experiences fire damage.