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Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service urges businesses to make fire safety their top priority

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Businesses across Norfolk are being urged to make fire safety their top priority.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has already been working hard to help the county's business community make changes to how they work due to the pandemic.

But with many businesses having to respond quickly, it is reminding them of the legal and moral responsibility to ensure premises are safe from fire and everyday fire risks in the workplace.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. (42178150)
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. (42178150)

The call comes during Business Safety Week which started on Monday.

The Service will be promoting advice and guidance on social media every day throughout the week using the hashtag #BusinessSafety2020.

Jonathan Wilby, Norfolk Fire and Rescue’s group manager for fire protection said: “We fully understand the challenges our business community are currently facing, so we want to emphasise that we’re here to help them recover as more places reopen.

“All businesses must review their fire risk assessment each year, however we’d encourage them to do this now if they have changed the way they run their business. Making any changes to staffing, blocking off aisles, and introducing one-way systems can all affect fire safety, so we’d encourage people to check everything over and get in touch if they need support.”

In 2019/20 the Fire Service attended 143 accidental fires in business premises in Norfolk, highlighting the need for business owners and "responsible persons" to review fire risk assessments and ensure there’s minimal risk to premises and occupants.

Since the beginning of lockdown in March this year the Fire Service has helped businesses 850 times including 179 bespoke audits, 188 building regulations consultations, and a further 191 licensing consultations.

The new audits have been designed specifically for use in the pandemic period, with officers gathering information and discussing fire safety with businesses through phone and video calls.

Businesses need to consider the potential risks that the COVID secure measures – which are required to open some premises – may in some cases, compromise fire safety measures.

New screens must not obstruct smoke detection, enough trained staff need to be available to support evacuation procedures and social distancing mustn't impact these procedures.

Businesses can find out more about reviewing their fire safety by visiting the County Council website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/BusinessFireSafety

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