Banner logo 2016 for CFOA webThis year’s UK Business Safety Week runs from the 5th to the 11th September. Led by the Chief Fire Officers Association, the campaign is focusing on highlighting the help and support that’s available to businesses from local fire and rescue services. It’s also a reminder of the ongoing work carried out by business safety practitioners throughout the fire and rescue service. In particular, the campaign’s asking businesses to think about how they can make fire safety an everyday part of working life and ensure all employees understand how they should respond if there was an incident. The safety week’s also highlighting the need to reduce the number of enforcement notices being delivered to businesses. To help achieve all this, the campaign is highlighting the following areas for businesses to focus on. How can you reduce the number of false alarms? One of the key benefits of automatic fire detection and alarm systems is the speed of response to a fire in its early stages and the associated reduction of the risk of fatalities, injuries and damage to property. But in some instances alarms are triggered when there isn’t a fire. These false alarms, and the call outs that result, are a massive drain on time and resources. It’s disruptive to your business and potentially dangerous too. Over time your employees might start ignoring an alarm going off if they think it’s false. That could include the time a fire’s really broken out. And fire and rescue services can’t be everywhere at once. If they’re on the way to your site responding to what turns out to be a false alarm, they may not be able to deal as quickly with a genuine incident taking place at the same time. Even if there isn’t another incident, it’s still extremely costly and time consuming and stops them carrying out the fire prevention activity they’d otherwise be involved in. The ideal starting point for preventing false alarms is to make sure you install a reliable system (like Siemens’ Cerebus Pro system which comes with a no false alarm guarantee) that both the fire and rescue services and your employees can have confidence in and will respond to. Then maintain your system. Have any false alarms investigated; if you’re unsure why you’re having problems, get in touch with your installer or maintenance company for help. How can you ensure your premises are safe and protected from risks like arson? Are you regularly checking that your fire risk assessments and procedures are up to date? Businesses are often changing and evolving. Buildings, or spaces within them, may be refurbished or modified. It’s very easy for assessments and procedures to become out of date or no longer applicable. When you’re doing your overall business fire risk assessments, make sure you’re considering any risks that could be posed by arsonists. What can you do to make your business a less appealing target? Arsonists don’t like being seen so clear back any vegetation close to your premises, install lighting and consider CCTV cameras too. Identify and limit ways they could gain access to your property and if possible move and lock away anything that could potentially provide a ready supply of fuel. Are you sharing fire safety information with your staff?  Employees need to have fire safety information clearly communicated to them on a regular basis but with everything else going on it can sometimes get overlooked. So use UK Business Safety Week as an opportunity to ask yourself whether your employees’ knowledge is as up to date as it should be. Has someone missed a face-to-face briefing? Have you had some new starters with gaps in their knowledge or training that you haven’t had time to address yet? Did a planned safety update email actually get written and sent out? There are a multitude of reasons why people aren’t as well informed as they ought to be and just a quick check will either reassure you that everyone’s up to date or help you identify anything that needs to be done.s