Business Fire Safety advice this Christmas

photo of a really cluttered corridor leading to a fire exit

Cardboard boxes block any hope of a quick exit in a fire at this premises

Shropshire company bosses are being urged to put fire safety at the top of their Christmas list this year.

Companies are legally responsible for taking fire safety precautions at their own premises, warn Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

There have been eight deliberate fires and 75 accidental blazes at business premises in the county since April this year. Last year there were 114 accidental fires and 21 deliberate incidents.

Fires can seriously damage a firm’s output, said Pat Johnson, of the brigade’s Business Fire Safety Team.

They have issued a safety check list for firms to avoid a fire threatening their business this Christmas.

  • Ensure fire escape routes are not blocked with extra Christmas stock.
  • Be aware about storing combustible materials which can block fire exits.
  • Packaging, cardboard and waste paper must be securely stored outside, not near buildings, and away from potential arsonists.
  • Regularly and routinely inspect fire alarms, emergency lighting, and firefighting equipment.

Fire officers often discovered “common shortfalls” when they carried out safety inspections at county firms, revealed Mr Johnson.

Senior managers must be aware of their legal responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO), he warned.

“Managers designated as responsible persons must carry out a regular review to ensure fire safety issues are identified and eradicated to increase safety to themselves, their staff and customers,” he said.

Current legislation was introduced by the Government to safeguard workplace premises from fire. Details on how companies must comply are available at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website at or by calling the Business Fire Safety Team on 01743 260 200.

“This is all about protecting your staff in the event of a fire and ensuring you are able to continue running your business. Many firms never recover after a serious blaze,” said Mr Johnson.

The RRO, applies to all commercial premises including offices and shops, and requires that a “responsible person” in the company must carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and act on its findings.

The fire and rescue service carries out audits at business premises to ensure fire regulations are complied with. Appropriate fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, evacuation plans mixed with regular fire drills and employee training are essential in all business premises.

Guidance booklets published to assist the responsible person in complying with the order are available from

“Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is committed to working with the business community to ensure continued economic growth within the county and to reduce the number of fires in commercial premises,” he added.

4th December, 2013