Does my business need a fire alarm?

As a business owner there are a number of health and safety regulations you need to abide by to ensure your staff and premises are protected. Some of the most important, and least understood, are surrounding fire safety. When it comes to taking steps to prevent and detect a fire on your premises the guidelines can be confusing and business owners are often left wondering – what do I need to do? In this blog we explain how to establish what your responsibilities are and any actions you need to take to ensure you're covered.


Fire safety regulations

While there’s no specific law on fire alarms, The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’. It requires that all buildings (except domestic buildings) carry out a fire risk assessment to determine which type of fire prevention methods are required.

Your risk assessment should take into consideration specific influencing factors associated with your business and premises, which might include: the size of your premises; what activities take place on site; whether you store any flammable materials; and if you have any vulnerable employees.


What type of fire prevention does my business require?

Most businesses will find their fire risk assessment shows they require at least a fire alarm on the premises. Depending on other risk factors you may also require additional fire systems, including emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, or sprinklers.

Any systems fitted in a commercial building must be installed in accordance with regulations and comply with British Standards 5839, so it is important to employ the services of a qualified and reputable fire safety company to carry out the work. If you’re unsure about what type of fire prevention you might need, they will also be able to advise you.


Fire alarm maintenance

Of course, having a fire alarm system installed is no use if you don’t take steps to test and maintain it. The government recommends that your fire alarm is thoroughly serviced by a qualified professional at least once every six months. If you have a large building, with many alarms and employees, it may be worth having more frequent inspections, so you can be sure you’ve done everything possible to protect your people and premises in the event of a fire.

At JELACO, we’re experts in fire safety prevention and detection systems. Our services include the installation and maintenance of fire alarms, emergency lighting, dry risers and fire hydrants, hose reels and sprinkler systems, kitchen fire suppression systems and more. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

emergency lighting sign. fire safety in the office.

Five ways to ensure fire safety in the office

Fires in the workplace can have a devastating impact, endangering the safety of your employees and causing costly damage to your business premises. You might think that they are an unusual occurrence, yet statistics show that there are over 22,000 fires in the workplace every year. The risks coupled with strict UK health and safety regulations, means fire safety should be an important consideration for business owners. In this blog we look at what you can do to ensure you’re protecting your people and staying compliant.


1. Keep your workspace clear and tidy

An effective method of fire prevention lies in basic housekeeping. The more clutter in a workspace, the bigger the fire hazard it poses. Disposing of waste properly, ensuring there are no spillages near electrical equipment, and storing flammable materials correctly, are all essential to reducing fire risk. Keeping floor space, corridors, stairs, and fire exits clear is also vital for a swift evacuation in the event of an emergency.


2. Make emergency evacuation plans

All employers should have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in place that is communicated to staff, explaining the procedures to take place in the event of a fire or other emergency. The plan should specify where the emergency exits are and who is responsible for taking specific actions – for example, each floor of your premises should have a designated fire warden whose role it is to coordinate the evacuation and ensure nobody is left behind in the building.


3. Test your electrical appliances

Almost all businesses will operate some form of electrical equipment, and this can pose one of the biggest health and safety risks, with faulty wiring or overloaded plug sockets having the potential to overheat and spark fires that can quickly spread. Your electrical appliances should be regularly PAT tested to ensure they are in a safe working condition as an essential park of your business’ fire safety prevention procedures.


4. Maintain your fire safety equipment

It is required that businesses have appropriate equipment and procedures to protect their employees in case of a fire. The type of equipment depends on your business premises, but for most it will include smoke alarms, fire exit signs, emergency lighting, and fire prevention systems, such as extinguishers and/or sprinklers. It is an employers’ responsibility to have these systems and equipment regularly checked and maintained to ensure it is in full working order.


5. Train your staff in fire safety

For your fire safety procedures to be effective, you need to ensure all your staff receive the appropriate fire safety training. This includes what to do in the event of a fire – from how to raise the alarm, to operating fire extinguishers, to evacuating the building. Employers should carry out at least one fire drill at its business premises per year and record the results as part of a fire safety and evacuation plan.

Trust JELACO to keep your people safe and business compliant. Our services include PAT testing and fire prevention methods, such as fire alarm and fire extinguisher maintenance, emergency lighting, sprinkler systems and much more. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

PAT testing - Seaward Apollo 600

Why is PAT testing so important?

For any business owner, ensuring the health and safety of your people and premises is fundamental. There are roughly 22,000 workplace fires every single year in the UK, and around a third of these are caused by faulty electrical appliances. Yet, while many businesses have safety procedures in place in the event of a fire, many overlook the importance of portable appliance testing (PAT) as an effective method of prevention. In this blog we explore what PAT testing involves, why it is so important and the benefits it offers.


What is PAT testing?

PAT, or Portable Appliance Testing, is the process of testing electrical appliances to ensure they are fully functional and not faulty. It involves the inspection of the appliances, cables and plugs to confirm everything is in good working order and safe to use. The recommended frequency for PAT testing depends on your type of business and the appliances you have, but it should be between two to four years. A professional will be able to advise you of how regular your checks should be.

The types of appliances you might have in your workplace that require PAT testing fall broadly into the following categories:

· Fixed appliances – these are connected to the electricity supply, such as ovens and hand dryers.

· Stationery appliances – appliances that cannot be easily moved and are usually large and bulky, such as fridges and air conditioning units.

· IT equipment – any piece of computer equipment that uses electricity as well as networking equipment like routers, servers, printers, and any power cables.

· Portable appliances – smaller appliances that can be easily transported between places, for example, kettles and toasters.


The benefits of PAT testing

In a worst-case scenario, a fire in the workplace can cause injury and damage to your property, which can have serious financial implications for your business. One of the best ways to reduce the risk is through prevention. Ensuring your electrical appliances are regularly checked and maintained through PAT testing means you can ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your people and property.

Regular PAT testing is also important to comply with UK safety standards. Although testing is not a legal requirement, the Electricity at Work Regulations states all electrical equipment be maintained in a “safe condition”, and the Health & Safety at Work Act specifies the employer is responsible for the safety of anyone on their premises. Acting within these guidelines is best practice and means in the event of injury or fire you are likely to be viewed more favourably if you need to make an insurance claim.

A further benefit is the practicality of discovering any electrical faults before they become a problem. Any equipment you use on a regular basis is likely to carry the biggest risk of breaking down or going wrong, but it is also what you rely on most heavily. PAT testing can pick up any issues and give you a chance to repair or replace your equipment, before it breaks down and you’re left without it completely.

Even if you think your electrical appliances are safe for use, regular PAT testing can bring you surety and peace of mind, so you can focus on running your business.


How can we help?

JELACO's expert engineers are on hand to help you maintain the highest safety standards in your workplace. Our team of multi-skilled professionals allows us to offer cost-effective packages, so whether you just need PAT testing, or want a complete overhaul of your fire safety equipment, in one location or across multiple sites, we tailor our services to suit your requirements. Get in touch to talk through your requirements.