Information sent on behalf of Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service
Welcome to the first edition of Business Safety Digital Update.
This newsletter has been compiled by the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Business Safety Team and is intended to support them in sharing important and up-to-date information, advice and legislation with business owners in Cheshire.
It will also highlight any news and events relating to the safety of businesses in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington.
Electricity most common cause of business fires
During the first three months of 2021 (Jan 1 - March 31) fire investigation officers found electricity to be the most common cause of a fire starting in a business premise in the county.
As well as electrical fires, cooking equipment, naked flames and heating equipment were also common causes and needed the help of firefighters to extinguish the flames.
With businesses re-opening, the Service saw an increase in fires in food and drink businesses at the start of the year, however the main type of business to suffer fires was industrial manufacturing.
In total, there have been 24 business fires across Cheshire between January 1 and March 31, 50 per cent of which occurred in Cheshire East.
The organisation also recorded that arson was the cause of 17 per cent of all business fires.
Please have a look at our business safety pages for advice on how to keep your business safe from fire.
The Service also received 102 calls to false alarms in business premises during the three-month period.
Officers praised a nursing home owner in January, for their diligence in fitting a sprinkler system, which activated when a fire broke out, immediately extinguishing the flames at source.
The fire occurred just after 5.30pm on January 30 and involved a bedroom at Sunrise of Mobberley, Barclay Park, on Hall Lane.
On arrival crews found everyone was safely out of the building and that the automatic fire alarm system had raised the alarm. A sprinkler system had also activated and extinguished the flames, preventing unnecessary damage.
James Scott is the dedicated Heritage Officer for the Protection Department.
His role involves completing fire safety audits in heritage premises and providing detailed technical advice, guidance and support on relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and standards in order to minimise fire risks and hazards in high risk and heritage buildings.
James also carries out home safety assessments in domestic and mixed-use heritage premises and aims to develop effective partnerships with other regulators, stakeholders, partners and businesses to formulate and implement effective heritage protection and prevention initiatives and activities.
The Service has used its business fire safety social media accounts to highlight to businesses the importance of providing all employees with the correct level of fire safety training this quarter.
In the event of a fire, everyone in the building should know what to do and how to get out safely so fire evacuation training is vital.
There may be the need for additional training if any staff, guests, clients or visitors have a disability. This may involve having a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEPS) for the premises. This involves a plan tailored to the individual’s needs, giving detailed information on their requirements during an escape. This could be for anyone who has difficulty hearing, minimum sight, or hindered mobility.
Having a good plan will always allow those who need it to evacuate via the safest possible way and give them the maximum amount of support and time.
Although over the past few months the Business Safety Team, like the rest of the country, have been in lockdown the department has still been conducting visits to support businesses in the county.
However, these have been significantly reduced and performed only in an emergency. The department has also been supporting our colleagues within the Service and the NHS with the Covid 19 recovery by administering and helping at the vaccination centres.
Communicating during lockdown
Social media was used as a communications tool to help get important messages out after staff, who usually work face-to-face visiting businesses on a daily basis, had to social distance.
This is one of the successful posts taken from the business safety teams social media accounts:
Across the Business Safety Team’s social media platforms we have had over 133 thousand social media users view our posts between January 1 and March 31. This allowed us to gain over 300 new followers this quarter, who are dedicated to making business safety across Cheshire a priority.
There have been over 400 social media users directed to our website where they found relevant information on fire safety in the workplace.
We have also been using social media to engage with the public and the team has answered over 250 messages in response to questions raised by our audience.
Campaigns to keep business safety a priority
Between January 1 and March 31, the Service ran three campaigns to warn and inform people about the seriousness of fire safety
The first was Fire Risk Assessments for your Business, which focused on fire risk assessments. The campaign signposted businesses to further information and templates they can use for help and support on the Service website.
Another concern led to us implementing an Extraction Fans and Maintenance campaign. This focused on businesses who cook food, run a commercial canteen, provide takeaway foods or offer food as part of their service (such as hotels and bed and breakfast establishments or hospitals, care homes and factories).
The organisation encouraged businesses that have a catering kitchen to take time and assess kitchen fire safety. They were asked to look at fire safety measures such as the difference types of fire extinguishers and their uses plus carbon monoxide alarms and maintenance of cooking appliances along with recording when appliances had been serviced and cleaned. Fire Training for Employees
April marked the start of our 12-month campaign to promote sprinklers. Throughout the campaign, we will share the facts surrounding both sprinklers and misting systems, bust some of the myths surrounding sprinklers and share some of the sprinkler saves within Cheshire.
For more information about fire safety matters and how to contact the Business Safety Team please head over to our website. You will also find information and dates on upcoming campaigns.
Message sent by
Ashley Lawton (Cheshire Police / Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Administrator, Corporate Communications)