Did your New Year resolution list read:
Probably not, but be warned: if you are not prepared, your company could be in for an expensive shock.
Under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, the Fire and Rescue Service has authority to prosecute the owner of any commercial building, non-domestic or multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales for failing to maintain proper fire protection. Most businesses do this, but if the authorities believe assessments have been insufficiently carried out, the responsible person can face an unlimited fine, or up to two years in prison. Hardly a good way to start your new year!
The former owner of a care home in Runcorn, Cheshire, found out the hard way. He was given a 12-month suspended sentence this month, after pleading guilty at Chester Crown Court to three breaches of the fire safety order.
The charges arose from a fire at his care home in October, when six elderly residents had to be rescued from the first floor. An investigation of the home revealed major shortfalls in fire safety, which led to the prosecution.
To underline the importance of keeping proper checks and records, we had an urgent call this month from a small business asking us to service their fire extinguishers. They'd let the servicing lapse and an eagle-eyed member of the public noticed the error and reported them to the Fire and Rescue Service who carried out an audit of the premises within days. Ultimately, the authority has the powers to shut down a business while necessary work is carried out.
The authority's audit and response is, of course, entirely justifiable - but why not get things right in the first place and save having to risk an unexpected and unwelcome visit?
Fire protection doesn't need to take an enormous amount of time and money, if your plans and procedures are in place and if you have reputable company helping you. Give us a call and see how we can help you enjoy 2015 with an easy mind.
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