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Businesses urged to think ahead to manage fire risk

September 12 2018
Aisle of Brides, curtesy of The Sentinel

Aisle of Brides, curtesy of The Sentinel

As part of a national drive Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is urging local businesses to manage the risk of fire.

The Aisle of Brides fire shows just what we can do for businesses when the worst happens. Seeing your livelihood go up in flames is undoubtedly a distressing time, but we are on hand to help begin the formal processes of contacting insurers, navigating the mine field of loss adjustment and guiding businesses through their recovery.

Business Support Lead for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Paul Crutchley

As part of a national drive Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is urging local businesses to manage the risk of fire. 

The National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC's) UK Business Fire Safety Week takes place between Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 16, 2018. 

The lead up to Christmas can be a busy time for businesses so SFRS ask people to take the opportunity to review risk assessments and escape plans as they prepare for the holidays, as they may take on extra stock and new or seasonal staff. Statistics show that in 2017-18 there were 240 fires at Staffordshire businesses, with 27 per cent (64) being set deliberately. 

In Staffordshire, the Service’s dedicated Business Support Team (BST) works with businesses throughout the year, offering free initial consultations, fire safety advice and business support packs. The team has worked with hundreds of local companies and organisations, helping them prevent fires and ensuring that when the worst happens they are fully prepared and equipped. 

For example, the team remains in contact with Aisle of Brides, a Stoke-on-Trent business hit by a large fire in November 2016. They were supported by the Service from the initial moments of the fire, during the aftermath of the incident and as they work towards reopening this autumn. The fire destroyed 50 per cent of their building, along with thousands of pounds worth of stock. 

Frank Bruce, owner of Aisle of Bridles, said: “Without the BST being on hand I would have gone out of business, my family and staff would have lost their jobs and I dread to think where we would be now! Our livelihood was saved, our reputation was protected and our business remained viable, despite the devastating effect of the fire.” 

Business Support Lead for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Paul Crutchley said: “The Aisle of Brides fire shows just what we can do for businesses when the worst happens. Seeing your livelihood go up in flames is undoubtedly a distressing time, but we are on hand to help begin the formal processes of contacting insurers, navigating the mine field of loss adjustment and guiding businesses through their recovery. 

“Our support can be adapted to suit any company. From helping businesses when they start up, guiding them though the various legislative requirements to make sure fire safety is business as usual, to helping established companies with continuity plans and staff training, right through to helping businesses pick up the pieces after an incident. 

“Sadly, not all businesses can recover like Aisle of Brides, and a large number of companies go out of business due to the huge financial implications of a fire. 

“As a Service prevention is our priority, we believe it’s far better to protect yourself so it’s much less likely that you will suffer a fire but if you do, then you know everything is in place to help you recover. 

“We’d encourage businesses to visit the dedicated pages of the website for information and advice on how to protect themselves from fire, accidental or arson. The downloadable ‘Resilient Business Software Toolkit’ can be accessed in the business support section of our website. The toolkit is underwritten by leading insurers and is administered by the Fire Protection Association. 

“Anyone who needs assistance completing the toolkit please get in touch, we are more than happy to provide support.” 

Businesses can contact Business Support Officer Paul Crutchley on 01785 898917.