When re-opening your business following the easing of the lockdown restrictions, you should review your fire risk assessment and other fire safety needs to ensure that it takes into account any changes to your business operations due to the Coronavirus pandemic! If you are a bar or restaurant reopening opening over the next few weeks and have any issues you can contact the MCL team on 02895219361 and also check out some things to consider below from the fire brigade
Due to Coronavirus, it is possible that not all your employees will be returning to the office at the same time. This may include staff with specific responsibilities, such as fire wardens or fire marshals. You must ensure that suitably trained staff are available or appointed to fill these positions as necessary. Also if changes have been made to evacuation plans due to social distancing it is important to make staff aware of these changes so they know what to do in a situation.
Testing Fire Alarms
Fire alarm systems should be tested and checked when you and your staff reopen your business. A working fire safety system keeps your employees and customers safe and you should repair any faults before returning and if you do make sure to contact your provider of MCL for any help or assistance with this.
Fire Assembly points
If your fire alarm went off and all your staff evacuated the premises, is your assembly point large enough that they can remain socially distanced? If not, you may need to relocate to a larger assembly point, or set up a dispersal system. A dispersal system organises staff into small groups, each one assembling in a different location. For example one team may meet in the car park, and another in a nearby park. This allows groups of people to remain socially distanced from each other, which is critical during the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you opt for this method you’ll need to make sure there’s a procedure in place to ensure everyone is accounted for, taking a register for example. It’s a good idea to have a fire marshal responsible for this, and to have one or more back up fire marshals to provide cover if needed.
Waste collection and arson
When you return to work after lockdown check if any rubbish has built up while you’ve been away. Now’s the time to dispose of it properly, or it could become a target for arson attacks.Keep an eye on your regular refuse and recycling collections, which may have changed during the Coronavirus pandemic. If they’re no longer taking place you’ll need to make other arrangements.
Emergency evacuation plans
Below are some the factors you’ll need consider when reviewing your emergency evacuation plan after reopening
One-way systems – if you have implemented a one way system in your premises how does that affect your evacuation plan?
Assembly points – Does your current assembly point allow enough room for people to social distance when gathered?
Use of lifts for visitors and residents who cannot use the stairs
Hand sanitising and washing facilities on evacuation and re-entry to the building
Clear escape routes – with lots of changes to how we use our spaces it’s easy to let things pile up. Make sure your escape routes are clear.
Fire Risk assessments
It is important to review your current fire risk assessment to make sure it is compliant with any updates made to your business
The review should consider the following:
How many people you have on the premises at a time and if there are enough of trained people to co-ordinate or carry out an evacuation, if needed?
Is there still the capacity to help people with a disability and any persons who may require assistance in an emergency?
Has social distancing created any lone working situations?
Have there been any changes in working practices due to coronavirus and how might they affect your risk assessment?
Have you had to increase your stock levels and do you need to adjust control measures accordingly?
Have you been able to test during lockdown? Do you need to carry out testing before re-occupation?Testing and maintenance regimes do they need to change?
Do you need additional staff training, including fire wardens or fire marshals? Do you need to train more people if people are working at varying times?
Have you factored in social distancing to your emergency evacuation plan including RVPs?
Are there any changes to Firefighter access and facilities? Are any changes needed?