Business Fire Safety - Covid-19
Keeping your premises safe from fire during lockdown
If your business is closing during a period of lockdown, the following information may be useful to you in keeping your premises safe and prevent fires from occurring:
Risk of arson - Securing premises is important to reduce the risk of arson.
This includes removing any external sources of fuel or ignition which could cause fire spread. Ensuring gates and fences are closed and locked as well as having working CCTV,
security systems and external lighting may help to prevent the anti-social behaviour
which can lead to arson.
Shared Means of Escape - Securing a premises should not affect the means of escape
from other premises which are still open, residential buildings or where wayleave
agreements are in place.
The internal fire protection measures such as fire doors should be closed and
in good order as these provide vital protection in event of fire.
The maintenance and testing of the fire detection and alarm system should be continued where it is possible and safe to do so, particularly where the fire detection and alarm system service multiple premises, some of which may still be operating.
Internal fire doors
Due to ongoing Covid-19 precautions, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service recognise that responsible persons for premises may wish for internal fire doors to be held-open in order to assist in the preventing the spread of the virus; however, this would only be acceptable if the hold-open device was one which is designed to operate and close the doors in the event of a fire alarm, preferably electro-magnetic hold-open devices or Dorgards.
The wedging or pinning back of internal fire doors is unacceptable and must be avoided, as this practice would result in the premises not complying fully with the requirements of the Fire Safety Order 2005 – Articles 8 (General Fire Precautions) and 14 (Means of escape).
The consequences of fire doors being wedged open could result in the loss of a substantial part of the premises due to fire, heat and smoke spreading between areas of the building due to the loss of compartmentation that the fire doors form part of.
All fire safety measures within the building must be tested to ensure that they are in serviceable condition, such as fire alarm systems, and where necessary any issues rectified prior to re-occupation.
The fire risk assessment must also be updated where buildings are used differently due to the covid-19 situation, for example, reflecting within the fire risk assessment that only part of a building is used, or is occupied at different times from those prior to the pandemic.