Retail businesses, such as shops, supermarkets, and banks, are an important part of many communities, but they also present unique fire safety hazards. In this blog post, we will examine some of the most common fire safety hazards found in retail settings, and discuss steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of fire in these environments.
Electrical hazards: Retail businesses often have a large number of electrical appliances and devices, such as digital screens, lighting, and heating systems – many of which customers interact with daily. These appliances can pose a fire risk if they are not properly maintained, or if they become damaged or overloaded. Customers spill water, remove plugs from sockets and create other unintentional safety hazards while on premises. It’s important to have regular electrical safety inspections and to ensure that all electrical equipment is in good working condition.
Combustible materials: Retail businesses often have a high quantity of combustible materials, such as paper, cardboard, and textiles, which can quickly fuel a fire if one were to start. It’s important to keep such materials stored in a safe manner, disposed of regularly and to generally reduce the quantity of combustible materials in the business area.
Storage hazards: Many retail businesses have limited storage space, which can lead to the accumulation of abandoned clutter and debris. This can create fire hazards and make it difficult for customers and employees to evacuate the building in an emergency. It’s important to ensure that storage areas are out of the way, kept clean, organised, and free of combustible materials. Review the items in storage regularly and relocate unused items offsite like Christmas decorations.
Cooking hazards: Some retail businesses have cooking equipment in small staff kitchens and food preparation areas that can present a fire hazard if not properly maintained or used. It’s important to have regular maintenance of the equipment and to have strict rules and training in place for their use.
Smoking hazards: Some retail businesses may have areas designated for smoking, which can present a fire hazard if not properly supervised. It’s important to ensure that such areas are equipped with proper ashtrays and fire-extinguishing equipment and to have strict rules in place to prevent smoking in prohibited areas.
Emergency lighting and Exit signs: Retail businesses receive many first-time visitors, making it important to have clear and easy-to-find emergency exits. Signs and way finders should be properly illuminated by emergency lights. Regular evacuation drills and emergency lighting tests will ensure your systems are properly maintained.
Overall, retail businesses can be at a higher risk for fire hazards due to the high quantity of electrical equipment and combustible materials. Property managers, business owners, and employees should all be aware of these hazards and work to reduce the risk of fire by following proper safety procedures and having regular fire safety inspections. This includes regular maintenance, training, and testing of fire safety equipment and systems, as well as a strong fire safety plan in place.
Using a digital fire logbook to keep track of hazards, get reminded of important safety tasks and monitor your retail store’s fire safety compliance will make minimising the risk of fire easier and simpler.