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As a retail business owner, you have a responsibility to the public and your staff to reduce the risk of fire hazards, and to implement a clear fire evacuation strategy should a fire break out.

As the owner of the premises, you must carry out fire risk assessments of your premises to ensure any hazards are identified and reduced as risks.

You can also nominate a responsible person to undertake this task, providing they have a good understanding of what conditions could lead to a fire, what materials pose a fire risk, and the consequences should a fire break out.

small business coffee shop

This will enable you to have a prepared response to deal with the fire if it does ever break out, and clear plans in place to ensure everyone in the premises can escape safely.

Fire risk assessment

Here at Protect & Detect, we offer advice and assistance regarding your fire risk assessment, which is required by law under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

A fire risk assessment of the premises must be carried out in order to:

  • Identify fire hazards
  • Identify any people that could be at risk
  • Reduce any identified risks to an acceptable standard
  • Identify what action should be taken in the event of a fire to keep people safe

Potential fire hazards

There are many potential sources within a retail premises at which a fire could occur, whether it is due to an accident, or intentional arson of the building.

Areas to look out for whilst conducting your fire risk assessment of your retail premises include:

Waste – combustible waste is often stored together, and not disposed of as efficiently as it should be.

Store your premises’ waste in locked, lidded bins to remove the risk of them coming into contact with an open flame or ignition, which could cause a fire.

Security – precautions should be taken in your retail premises to ensure there are no unauthorised persons able to access areas where arson could be committed.

With anyone from the public able to enter your shop throughout the day, it’s important to ensure access is limited to authorised areas only.

Building – if the building is old or damaged, there could be more hazards that could cause a fire, for example, faulty electrics or more areas for arsonists of thieves to break into the building.

This could also potentially limit people from safely evacuating the building in the event of a fire, so constant maintenance of your premises is important.

Kitchens – one of the biggest potential sources of a fire occurring, so careful fire safety precautions should be put in place.

Ensure that the appropriate ventilation systems are installed, and that there is fire fighting equipment (extinguishers, fire blankets) in place, and that staff are trained on how to correctly deal with types of fires e.g. grease fires, electrical fires etc.

Top Tips

Your fire risk assessment should enable you to identify any fire risks, implement an effective plan to deal with fire should it break out, and ensure every person in the retail premises can evacuate safely. When formulating your plan, remember these top tips:

  • Always inform staff of fire safety measures in place and the evacuation route
  • Ensure regular maintenance is carried out on any areas that could be a fire hazard
  • Install fire detection systems and fire safety equipment where necessary
  • Always install fire safety equipment (fire extinguishers, fire blankets, emergency lighting) in accessible and easy to see places
  • Ensure that there are clear escape routes and a means of fighting fire for all areas of the retail premises – for staff and members of the public.

We offer a comprehensive fire safety service here at Protect & Detect, providing fire risk assessment advice, as well as supplying and installing essential fire safety equipment for commercial premises.

Protect & Detect is a leading fire safety and security company, servicing Ipswich, Colchester, Cambridge, Bury St. Edmunds, Chelmsford and beyond.

Protect & Detect offers a wide range of fire safety and security services including; fire alarms, fire extinguishers, burglar alarms, intruder alarms, fire sprinkler systems, access control, door entry systems, CCTV, barriers, nurse and warden calls. Contact our friendly team today for a quick quote.


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