At this time of year, it’s always important to think about Christmas fire safety and fire safety awareness is especially important if you manage or work at a retail store. These types of stores are fantastic at putting on seasonal displays and having magnificent Christmas decorations, but along with all these extra things come more opportunity for flammable objects to catch fire, as well as having a lot of customers in your store to keep safe.
Whether you manage a retail store or work there, it is always a great idea to consider how to promote fire safety this Christmas and make sure you have the appropriate procedures in place, so if there is an emergency, everyone can stay safe.
With many more flammable decorations and extra electrical devices throughout our buildings during the festive season, what steps can we all take to stay safe this Christmas?
Test Your Fire Alarms
This is a given for any household, but it is very important if you have a large retail store with many employees and customers who are inside. Testing the fire alarm before the shop is open can also be a great time to do it, to make sure it’s ready and working for the day.
You can always get fire alarm servicing for your building for a more thorough check as well, that can offer an extra layer of fire safety. This makes sure everything is in working order and it sounds correct, so everyone in the building would be able to hear it.
Well Distributed Fire Safety Equipment
To make any building fire safe this Christmas, you need to make sure you have the right equipment spread around your building. Distributing them in areas that could be potentially hazardous such as in the kitchen, which is more of a fire risk, will ensure that you have this equipment where it is needed.
This equipment can include fire blankets, fire extinguishers and don’t forget your fire extinguisher servicing to make your retail store safe for shoppers this festive season.
Turning Off Switches
With all the extra decorations and displays that stores put up, this means that there is a higher chance of something catching fire. One of the ways to reduce this risk is to simply turn off switches when you leave. With all the extra fairy lights and displays being used throughout the day, they can overheat when being used so much.
One fantastic way to prevent fires can be using RCD (residual current device) which is often used for decorating the outside of stores and buildings. In case an emergency does occur, it will instantly turn off the power, so it won’t add to the spread of a fire and could potentially prevent one escalating.
Fire Risk Assessment
This is very important for anyone who owns or runs a retail store because as the responsible person, it is up to you to make sure you carry out a fire risk assessment. This is done to eliminate or reduce the risk of a fire happening and could potentially save lives, such as over the Christmas period when there are more flammable objects in the store.
Although the law doesn’t state how frequently these assessments must be carried out, it must be done if there has been a significant change to the environment and hazards and risks need to be reassessed. For retail businesses, it is recommended that a fire risk assessment be carried out by the responsible person annually.
Watch Out for Candles
This is a given for many people, but year after year candles cause fires. It can be lovely to receive a scented candle as a gift from a co-worker, but before you light it in the workplace make sure you are aware of the risks.
Whenever there is a naked flame, consider if it is near something flammable, or there are any hanging decorations which could potentially set alight. The number one rule is of course blow it out whenever you leave the room, as they should never be left unattended.
Use a Fire Guard
Just in case your shop has a welcoming open fire, make sure you take the appropriate steps to make it safe and usable for everyone. Having a real fire creates a welcoming and festive atmosphere, but when fires crackle they can easily set their surroundings alight.
Having a simple fireguard not only makes it safer for young children who might be wandering around the shop, but it can prevent fires too. A fireguard can stop any logs or pieces falling out and causing a fire hazard and will also save your carpet as well.
Know Where Your Exits Are
If you undertake a fire risk assessment, this will certainly be a very important part of it. Nonetheless, it is very important that you know where the best exits and stairs are to get out of the retail store, in case there is an emergency
It is especially important that these are well signposted and that fire exits are obvious to visitors in commercial buildings too. Doing this right means that people will know where to go and where to congregate in case of an emergency, potentially saving lives.
Don’t Over Decorate
If you are decorating your shop, it is so tempting to put up all the Christmas decorations you have to really get people excited about their Christmas shopping. While there are plenty of safe and fire safe decorations you can put up, using lots of decorations can increase the risk of something catching alight.
It is good to be mindful of what sort of decorations you are putting up, their materials and considering how flammable they are if there is anything near them that is hazardous or could cause them to set alight. However, one golden rule is that not overdoing it with Christmas decorations means there is less of a risk, so choose your decorations wisely.
Practise Christmas Fire Safety Drills
There is so much to think about when running a retail store at this time of year and one sure-fire way to make it an even safer environment is to practise drills. This can involve having a practise fire drill where everyone evacuates and understands their responsibilities and roles when doing so.
Keeping everyone up to speed will make fire drills run a lot smoother in the future and in case there is an emergency, this will be a lot more efficient. This is particularly vital for new employees who have just started working at the store, so they understand their roles in the fire safety drills.
How Can We Help With Fire Safety Awareness This Christmas?
If you want to know more about how to make your retail store fire safe this Christmas, you can contact us to find out more.