Keeping Businesses Safe From Fire

Mon, December 8th, 2014
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Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is helping businesses to manage their risk of..

 Keeping Businesses Safe From Fire

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is helping businesses to manage their risk of fire during the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) UK Business Safety Week.

During the week, which runs from December 8 to December 14, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS) will be increasing engagement with businesses and community organisations.

At this time of year businesses may have more stock, seasonal staff or may be preparing for the shut-down period over Christmas and should be extra vigilant.

MF&RS will focus on buildings used for commercial, voluntary and community use during UK Business Safety Week.

Premises will be visited by the MF&RS Fire Protection teams, who will support businesses to manage their fire safety and keep their customers, staff, business and stock safe.

Buildings used for voluntary and community use are also a key part of UK Business Safety Week. Many people such as voluntary groups and charities use community buildings and we will be giving advice on how to look at the increased risks of fire that can occur during the festive season.

Firefighters in Merseyside have been called out to 1,952 fires at commercial premises since the starts of January 2011. Of those, there have been 1,000 in Liverpool, 296 in Sefton, 281 in Wirral, 223 in St Helens and 152 in Knowsley.

There have also been 130 people injured in fires at commercial premises in Merseyside since the start of January 2011.

Group Manager Guy Keen, who heads up Fire Protection at MF&RS, said: “We are encouraging businesses to be extra vigilant at this time of year and look at how they can protect themselves from fire risks.

“A fire in a business can put the lives of staff and customers at risk and can damage stock as well as the premises. This can make it impossible for a company to continue its day-to-day work, which not only affects the organisation but also its employees, suppliers and customers.

“During the week our Fire Protection staff will be visiting business premises and offering advice on how they can keep their premises and their employees safe from fire.”

Group Manager Keen added: “Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS) is raising awareness around sprinklers and promoting the benefits of sprinklers as part of a commitment to reduce the impact of fire on people, property, businesses and the environment in Merseyside. We have seen many fires in Merseyside where, if fitted, sprinklers have prevented the fire from spreading, limiting damage to owners and business, ultimately saving lives and significantly reducing financial loss, which clearly demonstrates their benefit.”

National statistics show that in 2012/13 alone, there were 1,826 fires in industrial processing premises, 5,671 fires in commercial/retail premises, and 1,017 fires in health/hospital premises.

Although the number of fires in business premises has reduced in recent years, the cost of fires and the subsequent losses have been rising. This would indicate that when a fire does happen it has a more serious impact on businesses.

CFOA President Peter Dartford said: “During UK Business Safety Week fire services will be promoting the work that they do with businesses, helping them to effectively manage the fire safety of their organisations and safeguard their staff, premises, stock.

“But it is not only commercial premises that can be at risk – reducing the potential for fire in buildings used for voluntary and community use is also a key objective of the UK Business Safety Week. Many communities may depend upon the support provided by organisations using a community centre, for example, so reminding the owners of these premises to re-consider their risks, especially at this time of year, will help protect the valuable services that these voluntary and charitable groups offer.”

Further information:

•A report showing the cost benefit of installing sprinklers in warehouses can be found here -

•Here is another report - an evidence based assessment of the direct and indirect economic impacts in England and Wales of fires in warehouse buildings without automatic fire sprinkler systems (AFSS)

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