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Industrial Action Advice For Businesses
Industrial Action - Advice For Businesses

The Fire Brigades Union has just held further strikes in a dispute with the Government over pension reforms.

The last 24 hour period of industrial action was on 25 February from 7am.

This information should help you prepare for what to expect during any period of action.

How will a period of action affect the Service’s protection function?

  • Programmes of routine inspections and building regulation consultations may be disrupted or appointments changed at short notice

  • We intend to investigate and respond to reports of dangerous conditions during periods of industrial action. Dangerous conditions are described as those which could create serious risk to people

How can I keep my business safe from fire?

  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places a legal requirement upon employers and persons with responsibility for premises. These responsibilities and safety measures are designed to protect life regardless of fire service intervention. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind you that your emergency escape plan should not rely on fire and rescue service involvement for it to be effective. Any and all actions that are required to keep people safe in the premises, to move them to places of relative safety or to complete a full evacuation must be within your resources. This principle of fire safety applies at all times not just during industrial action.

Employers, Owners, Directors, Senior Managers and Health and Safety Managers may want to ensure the following are being considered.

General fire safety

  • Review your existing fire precautions, Fire Risk Assessment and Management Plans to take into account disruption to the Fire and Rescue Service

  • Review arrangements for calling the emergency services

  • Check staff are fully aware of fire and evacuation procedures

  • Keep your staff Informed of your additional fire safety measures

  • Take appropriate steps to enhance staff vigilance

  • Adopt a night time/end of shift routine to check premises before closing.

  • Adopt a house keeping routine, internally and externally, making sure all rubbish, paper and cardboard are emptied into appropriate bins.

  • If your fire alarm system is connected to an alarm receiving centre (ARC) make sure they have up to date information such as key holder names and contact details.

  • Check and if necessary update your business continuity plans

  • Consider training additional staff for fire marshal duties

  • Consider the need for additional staffing or patrols

  • Consider the need for additional staff training.

 

Fire Alarms

If your fire alarm operates at any time, including a period of industrial action, please react as follows:

  • Immediately the fire alarm sounds, put into action your normal evacuation routine

  • Unless it is obvious that there is a fire, safely investigate the source of the alarm to establish if it is a fire or a false alarm

  • Please arrange with your client to have a plan of action in place not to call the fire service until it can be confirmed if the call is a fire or false alarm

  • If you are certain that there is no fire and no suspicion of fire then the building can be reoccupied and there is no need to call the fire service. If, during the investigation, a fire is discovered, smoke is apparent or there is a smell of burning that cannot be accounted for, then dial 999 and ask for the fire service.

  • To prevent any unnecessary disruption, please ensure that known problems which result in false fire alarms are corrected so that there is a high degree of confidence in your fire alarm system.

  • Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind you that your emergency escape plan should not rely on fire and rescue service involvement for it to be effective. Any and all actions that are required to keep people safe in the premises, to move them to places of relative safety or to complete a full evacuation must be within your resources.

 

Your responsibility

During the period of industrial action it should be noted that the fire service may not be able to respond to any routine fire safety enquiries within normal time scales. We would, however, highlight the fact that it remains the responsibility of employers and other premises occupiers to comply with fire safety law; information on how to achieve this, and more general advice, is available at www.dsfire.gov.uk. Please click on the ‘Your Safety’ tab then explore the ‘Safety at work & other places’ link.

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