interior of coffee shop

Fire Safety Guidance & Advice for Small Business Owners


As a small business owner, we know that you have plenty on your mind and that there are often not enough hours in the day. But, are you taking care of your responsibilities and obligations in relation to fire safety? We understand that there can sometimes be confusion and a lack of knowledge in this area which is why we’ve put this blog article together.

Small businesses haven’t had it easy in the last couple of years and there is no question that there are challenging times ahead with everyone facing increasing costs and staff shortages. We hope that the following questions and answers will help you to prioritise the things that really matter.

Do you have the fire extinguishers you need?

Not only do you need the appropriate number of extinguishers for your premises they need to be the right type of extinguishers for the materials present on site too. We’d strongly recommend taking professional advice on this.

Can staff and visitors leave the premises safely in an emergency?

Make sure that your fire exits are kept clear at all times, they should never be blocked by stock, equipment or furniture. If you have fire doors, they should be maintained regularly to ensure they are in good working order and must not be propped open for any reason.

Have you considered the potential risk of arson?

Remove all rubbish from your premises on a regular basis and if it can’t be taken away promptly keep it stored safely until it can be collected. Consider installing Security fencing, CCTV and outside lighting to deter potential arsonists and make sure the premises are fully secured outside of working hours. Try to avoid holding large amounts of stock, instead aim to bring in small amounts on a more regular basis.

Do you have an up-to-date fire risk assessment?

Your initial fire risk assessment should be carried out by a competent person. It should then be reviewed regularly (at least every 12 months) and more frequently if there are any changes that may impact fire safety. These could include changes to the premises or the activities taking place on site. It is really important that the risk assessment is completed correctly, so if you are not sure where to start talk to a professional.

Are your fire alarms in good working order?

Your fire alarm system should be tested on a weekly basis and be thoroughly checked and tested by a qualified engineer annually. This will ensure that it works when needed and help to lower the risk of false alarms which can be a drain on fire service resources.

The effects of fire can be devastating, not only in terms of the risk of injury or death, but also in the impact it can have on a small business with figures showing that many are never able to recover and are forced to close. Safeguard your future by taking the necessary steps to protect your staff and business. If we can help with any aspect of fire safety, please get in touch alternatively you could contact your local fire service.