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Shops in Cornwall urged not to lock fire exits or block escape routes

Shops in Cornwall urged not to lock fire exits or block escape routes

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:56am 30th July 2020.

Shops in Cornwall are being urged not to lock fire exits, as businesses reopen with social distancing measures.

Truro Fire Station has issued a warning as many shops start to implement one-way systems to help people stick to the Covid-19 guidelines.

But firefighters say some have also been blocking escape routes, which is dangerous.

Fire safety advice is now going out to shops to make sure they continue to keep customers safe.

"The Fire Service had been to a number of shops recently where the fire escape routes and fire exits have been blocked, this has been caused by the changes in working practices brought about by COVID-19. This guidance has been written to support businesses and ensure compliance.
Fire Risk Assessment Advice

"Your fire risk assessment should be reviewed periodically, after a fire or near miss, when there is significant change in the workplace or when it is believed it may no longer be valid.

"In particular you should review your fire risk assessment and update it, if you plan to alter the internal layout of your premises, or reduce the numbers of staff working at any one time, as this may affect your emergency action plan in the event of a fire.

"When considering reviewing and updating your fire risk assessment the level of competence required depends on the size and complexity of your premises. It is essential the responsible person shows “due diligence” by ensuring that a person who reviews and updates the fire risk assessment is competent (competence is a mix of experience, education and training)."

Truro Community Fire Station

Fire exits and escape routes are calculated on two main factors:

  1. The maximum occupancy of your premises.
  2. Travel distances (how far you need to travel to a place of safety)

"Fire exits in your building have been designed and positioned so if you have only one way out from any point within the building you do not need to travel further that 18 metres (this is measured to a fire exit door leading to outside or to an enclosed stairway), if within the 18 m travel distance you then have a choice of two or more exits in different locations this travel distance can be extended to a maximum total of 45m (note: these travel distances apply to shops, other distances apply to different premises).

"A blocked or obstructed fire escape route or fire exit may not be compliant with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and may place you, your staff, or members of the public at risk and could result in prosecution."

Truro Community Fire Station

You can find more guidance here or you can email protection@fire.cornwall.gov.uk

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