Have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet? Hands up anyone who’s just started a diet or who’s definitely making 2021 the year they begin a proper exercise regime (yes, a few of us in the office are holding our hands up right now)...

It’s easy to be cynical about the lengthy list of resolutions most of us make in January that then fall by the wayside. But actually if you manage to do just one of them (or even part of just one of them!) it’s still a positive change. Dry January might only be dry on weekdays but that’ll still do your health (and bank balance) some good.

This made us think about our fire safety and security habits in the workplace (and at home as well for that matter) because it’s very easy for good intentions to drift there too. With that in mind we’ve come up with a list of ideas for some safety and security New Year’s resolutions. Why not pick out just one or two and make a difference to your workplace this year?

• Maintain your fire and security equipment properly

We’re not overstating the case when we say fire and security equipment does a vital job. There could come a time when you’re depending on it to save lives. But is it as well maintained as it should be to keep it in full working order? It might not be serviced regularly enough or by an engineer who does all the essential checks as thoroughly as they should.

So one pretty good resolution to kick off with is to make sure your equipment is serviced by an appropriately accredited (and therefore fully competent) company. Use a BAFE registered engineer to service your fire extinguishers and alarms and look out for the NSI accreditation too.

• Stick to a testing schedule

Another important aspect of maintenance is to test your equipment regularly. It doesn’t have to take long but get into the habit (or arrange for someone else to!) of carrying out regular - ideally weekly - checks of your alarms and emergency lighting. Make sure the person who’s doing it is suitably trained or alternatively talk to your maintenance provider for assistance.

• Check your fire risk assessment is up to date

You’re probably already aware that if you’re responsible for fire safety in any capacity (as an employer perhaps or as a building owner) you must have a completed fire risk assessment in place.

But once it’s done it’s very easy to let it fall out of date. While planning to review it in a year’s time is better than nothing, circumstances can alter way before that. So do check regularly for changes in the workplace that may mean you need to revisit aspects of the assessment. It’ll help make that scheduled review in 12 months’ time more manageable too.

• Know how to use a fire extinguisher

Most people are pretty clear about the concept of using a fire extinguisher. But how would they react if they had to use one in reality?
It can be scary being faced with even a small fire. You won’t have the luxury of time to work out what you need to do. So make a resolution to familiarise yourself and others with the different types of fire extinguishers available and how you should discharge them. Or go on a short course where you can practice using them safely and effectively – our partner company Delyn Safety offers an excellent one.

• Do some New Year decluttering

Decluttering is a very popular activity at this time of year! So why not do some in the workplace? There are a multitude of benefits when it comes to fire safety and workplace security. Cleaning up general clutter means you’re keeping walkways clear as well as providing access to fire fighting equipment and emergency exits if they were suddenly needed.

It also means you’re reducing the amount of potential fuel for a fire. Getting rid of rubbish outside your building means there’s less temptation for would-be arsonists. Leaving things lying around outside can also provide criminals with some handy accessories to use for breaking in to your premises. Cut back any vegetation that’s got out of hand too; as well as being fuel for a fire, it also offers a hiding place for intruders.

• Check the condition of leads and sockets

Look out for any equipment, plugs or sockets that feel exceptionally warm. Visually inspect electrical leads and chargers and if there are any signs of problems – they might be worn or frayed for example – don’t use them. If there are dark marks around sockets, or you notice sparks or smoke when you’re inserting or taking out a plug, get the device and socket checked before you use them.

• Tighten up your business security
Do you need to keep a closer eye on who can access your premises? You might conclude your security’s as good as it needs to be. But it’s always far better to think about it proactively rather than realise it wasn’t good enough after an incident.

There’s a whole host of options you can consider. Some can be really simple like introducing a paper visitor pass system or installing a lock on a door from reception into the main building so visitors have to register their arrival. More sophisticated methods of access control, like card systems and finger print recognition, make sure only authorised personnel can enter certain locations.

If people come and go regularly or your workplace is open to the public a CCTV system can be a cost effective option. As well as providing evidence after an event it’s a useful deterrent. It can also help you spot anyone acting suspiciously and deal with them quickly before an incident happens.

If you need any help making sure 2021’s a safe and secure year for your business then do get in touch with us.