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Has lockdown disruption put you at greater risk from fire?

Working practices have been changing, workplaces have been changing, staff who were there before are not now… Covid has turned the world on its head and amidst the chaos it is easy to forget important details.

Northamptonshire Fire Service is warning businesses not to let small oversights turn into big disasters by looking at their safety procedures and making sure they are fit for purpose.

Fire service communications officer James Averill put together the following news release:

As social distancing restrictions have eased, businesses have been slowly allowed to reopen. But this may mean that they need to evaluate any changes to risk assessments following the pandemic.

Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service is offering advice and guidance through its Protection team to help minimise the risk of fire in the workplace as part of the National Fire Chief Council’s (NFCC) Business Safety Week, which runs from September 6-12.

The Protection team can also advise on reducing the risk of arson by taking simple steps to protect your premises. There were more than 4,700 deliberate fires in businesses in the UK in 2019-20 and most attacks are unplanned and opportunist crimes.

They can also help to reduce false alarms in the workplace as these can impact business productivity. Around 44 per cent of Fire Service call outs in the UK are as a result of false alarms – which puts pressure on fire service resources and time, both of which could be spent dealing with genuine emergencies and community prevention and protection activities.

Scott Richards, Community Protection Manager at Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We know what a challenging 18 months this has been for businesses, but it is important that they continue to meet their legal duties.

“We support the NFCC’s Business Safety Week and promote our commitment to working with our local businesses and ensure that both occupants and premises are kept safe from fire. We will be able to provide advice and guidance, whether it’s on Fire Risk Assessments, ensuring staff are suitably trained or that fire safety equipment in checked and maintained.

“Our work and advice to businesses does not focus on compliance at any cost.  Officers will regularly discuss solutions with owners that are more suitable to a particular situation, more pragmatic and easier to manage and, in some cases, more cost effective.”

Mark Andrews, Business Engagement Lead at the NFCC, added: “Fire services are committed to helping businesses get back to work so they can continue to make their valued contribution to the economy and local communities.

“It has been such a challenging time, but fire can have a devastating impact on a business with many never recovering. We encourage businesses to get in touch with their local fire service for advice.”

You can contact the NFRS Protection by emailing fireprotection@northantsfire.gov.uk or by calling 01604 797000 and asking to be put through to a Fire Protection Officer.

You can also follow the Protection Team on Twitter (@NFRSBizSafety) and following the weekly NFCC campaign by searching for #BusinessSafety21

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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