Is your Business Safe from Fire?

A Shropshire businessman is urging county business owners and managers to attend special fire prevention seminars put on by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Ludlow Home Care owner David Bowen said the business education seminars are “vital” for every company, large or small.

Mr Bowen, who runs an established bedrooms, kitchens, garden and DIY centre at a two acre site at Ludford Bridge, has introduced a number of extra fire prevention measures after attending a seminar in March this year.

“We always have been very fire safety conscious but the seminar does ensure you are even more aware of your responsibilities. It is a vital course to help ensure you are reducing the risk of fire and meeting all the legal requirements.”

Mr Bowen said he ensured cardboard boxes were not stacked too high so they could not catch fire from overhead lighting, had installed better signs for escape routes and moved skips away from the outside of the building to reduce the risk of fire.

An office gas heater had been replaced by an electric appliance to reduce the chance of a gas leak with a naked flame, fire alarms were now being tested weekly instead of monthly and rubbish removed even more frequently.

“Business owners and managers should go to one of the seminars if they get the chance. It makes you more aware. There are issues I would not have know about without attending the seminar,” added Mr Bowen, who has run Ludlow Home Care for the past 30 years.

Fires at county firms have reduced by almost 50 per cent over the past decade with more fire safety education from specialist officers at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Serivce. But firefighters still attended 137 business fires over the past year.

A total of 1,603 “at risk” county businesses paid a visit by fire prevention officers last year in the bid to reduce fires even further and another 2,000 are being visited in 2014/15.

The shock statistic though is that many firms never recover from a fire on their premises, said Pat Johnson, the brigade’s business support supervisor based at Shrewsbury fire HQ.

Every three months they hold business seminars to educate county firms. The next two hour sessions will be held at local fire stations from 10am to midday and 2pm to 4pm at Bishops Castle on June 17; Ludlow June 18; Shrewsbury June 24; Telford  June 25 and at Bridgnorth on June 26.

“We want to raise awareness about the responsibilities which business owners face and the need for them to carry out fire risk assessments at their own premises.

“We will tell you what the risk assessment process involves, what to expect when fire safety inspectors visit to audit your premises and common shortfalls found during audits.

“It could be the most vital two hours any business owner or senior manager spends which could save their business from fire,” he added.

For more information contact Pat Johnson at [email protected] or call the Business Fire Safety Department on 01743 260193.

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Pete White Pete White

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