Business Safety Week

Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service are supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council Business Safety Week 10 - 16th September 2018.

This year’s the focus is on:

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  • Arson
  • Reducing false fire alarms
  • Fire drills 


'There are more than 3000 arson attacks on businesses each year in the UK'

You should also look for any situation that may present an opportunity for an arsonist and be aware of other small deliberately fires in the locality, which can indicate an increased risk to your premises.  Be suspicious of any small ‘accidental’ fires on the premises and investigate them fully and record your findings.
Fires started deliberately can be particularly dangerous because they generally develop much faster and may be intentionally started in escape routes.  Of all the risk-reduction measures, the most benefit may come from efforts to reduce the threat from arson.

Measures to reduce arson may include the following:

  • Ensure the outside of the premises is well lit and, if practical, secure the perimeter of the premises
  • Thoroughly secure all entry points to the premises, including windows and the roof, but make sure that this does not compromise people’s ability to use the escape routes
  • Do not store or let large amounts of rubbish to accumulate
  • Do not place rubbish skips adjacent to the building and secure waste bins in a compound separated from the building
  • Do not park vehicles, store goods or materials in the open next to windows or doors
  • Encourage staff to anti- social behaviour to the police and share information with neighbouring businesses
  • Report evidence of any fire to your local fire service
  • Remove automatic entry rights from staff who have been dismissed
  • Ensure that your security alarm/fire detection system is monitored and acted on
  • Secure flammable liquids so that intruders cannot use them
  • Secure all storage areas and unused areas of the building that do not form part of an escape route against unauthorised access, ensure access to keys to those areas is restricted
  • Fit anti-arson metal letterboxes to contain any burning materials that may be pushed through

Reducing false fire alarms

False alarms also have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your fire evacuation strategy and may put the lives of your staff and visitors at risk.  If a genuine fire alarm is ignored (for example, because people mistake it for yet another false alarm), this can lead to death, injury and extensive damage.  It is well known that many companies that suffer a serious fire may never effectively recover and could stop trading.

The Cost to you

  • Down time from evacuations
  • Disruption to customers
  • Loss of confidence from staff/fire service
  • Image of complacency about safety
  • Possible future charging for attendance by fire and rescue services

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service have developed a toolkit to help businesses reduce the number of false alarms, limit business disruption and free up our resources for other essential activities.  By following our guidance in our toolkit you could reduce/eliminate the disruptive impact of false alarms, improve productivity and save money.

The guidance covers the following;

  • Your responsibilities
  • What is a false alarm?
  • How many false alarms are too many?
  • Fire alarm management
  • Fire detection guidance
  • Emergency plan
  • Action we take help reduce false alarms
  • How we respond to reported automatic fire alarms


Download the Toolkit for Reducing false alarms

The Fire Inductry Association (FIA) has also produced a number of guidance documents to refuce false fire alarms (see below).

For more details go to

Fire drills

Do your employees know the drill? 

'If a fire alarm went off at work 22% of employees would wait to see what others do before taking action!'

Once the emergency plan has been developed and training given, you will need to evaluate its effectiveness. The best way to do this is to perform a fire drill.  This should be carried out at least annually or as determined by your fire risk assessment.  If you have a high staff turnover, you may need to carry them out more often.


  • Have your staff received any fire safety training?
  • Have you carried out a fire drill recently?
  • Are employees aware of specific tasks if there is a fire?
  • Are you maintaining a record of training sessions?
  • Do you carry out joint training and fire drills in multi-occupied buildings?
  • If you use or store hazardous or explosive substances have your staff received appropriate training?

For further guidance on creating an emergency plan refer to our webpage Emergency Plan 

Fire safety direct

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the only piece of fire legislation that applies to all non-domestic premises (with a few minor exceptions) in England and Wales.  It covers general fire precautions and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect ‘relevant persons’ in case of fire in and around most ‘premises’.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service provides free telephone advice and support, however if you require additional support we have a regulatory support service (paid service) called ‘Fire Safety Direct’.  Fire Safety Direct helps you to understand the regulatory requirements needed to ensure compliance with Fire Safety Legislation and as the regulator we are best placed to give advice and support.

Fire Safety Support can provide you with the following benefits:

  • Save you time - clear and simple to understand professional bespoke advice
  • Save you money - as the regulator we are best placed to tell you what fire precautions you need to ensure compliance and help you avoid overspending
  • Advice on management - we can provide guidance on procedures and systems to manage your risk
  • Reassurance - you can be confident that your business, staff and customers are safe from the risk of fire
  • Compliance - you can be confident that our guidance will ensure you will be compliant with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 
For more details view our webpage Fire Safety Direct