Fire service warning to businesses as they reopen in line with Covid-19 measures

Pubs, restaurants and small businesses must ensure they are fire safe when they reopen to customers for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 4:45 pm

The warning comes from fire services across the North East as they get set to give a virtual presentation to businesses on how to stay safe and adhere to Government guidance.

Hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses, the live Zoom session will be held at 1pm on Thursday, July 2.

Cleveland Fire Brigade, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Darlington and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Services are all taking part.

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Restaurants, pubs and small businesses are being warned to make sure they are fire safe as they reopen under new Covid-19 restrictions. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN via Getty Images)

All business owners have a legal responsibility to ensure people on the premises are safe.

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This means secure escape routes, unblocked exits, identifying hazards and training staff what to do in the event of an emergency.

Covid-19 restrictions have seen some businesses bringing in one-way systems and social distancing for customers.

Restaurants, pubs and small businesses are being warned to make sure they are fire safe when they reopen under new Covid-19 restrictions (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

This will be one of the many topics covered in the virtual session to ensure escape routes are not blocked and all staff are aware of any new procedures

It is also a legal requirement to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment to ensure your premises are safe.

Failure to comply with this and carry out any necessary improvements to reduce the risk of fire and keep people safe could result in Fire Rescue Services closing the business.

Ian Bell, head of Business Fire Safety at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Servicem said: “We understand that it’s a very difficult time for businesses starting to reopen following the closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

”Fire safety arrangements might have to be revised in light of the changes that businesses have had to make due to the current situation.

“However, any changes to your premises or working practices to accommodate social distancing measures, should not adversely affect fire safety, which is why this joint presentation is so important.”

Craig Ducat, group manager at Northumberland Fire Rescue Service, added: “Our aim is to inform businesses of their fire safety requirements and provide professional advice on measures they have put in place following the Government’s advice on Covid-19 measures, as they prepare reopen their businesses.”

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