Performing as Key Workers

Author - Aimee Looker |
Publish Date - April 16, 2020

Churches Fire continues to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation globally, and the safety of our employees, customers and partners is our top priority.

Since we provide on-site support for customers, we have outlined how we are operating in the following announcement.

According to Government advice, fire and rescue service employees and support staff are classed as Key Workers. This means our work falls under the critical sectors list in response to the COVID-19 situation.

The FIA (Fire Industry Association) has been in discussions with the Home Office regarding this situation. Therefore, the same as our Key Worker colleagues in government support services, supermarkets, utilities and manufacturing, we are essential to keep the country moving and critical to the infrastructure.

As Key Workers during this time, we would like to reassure our customers that we are continuing to service fire safety and security provisions where it is safe to do so.

No matter the situation, it should be noted that there is always a responsibility to maintain fire safety services. The Responsible Person in a business of any size or sector must ensure that their duties are met 365 days a year; including the organising of regular equipment servicing.

Full fire protection must always be in place, whatever the business – even if there is no one present on-site. In the same way you make provisions for fire safety and security during periods of closure at Christmas, similarly you should make sure your premises is protected when closed or running with fewer staff than usual.

We understand that many businesses have staff that are operating on ‘working from home’ basis at this time. With empty premises’, Churches Fire has been able to send our highly qualified technicians to site to continue maintaining fire safety equipment in line with the legal requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

With buildings being temporarily closed, this is an opportune time to arrange for the servicing and maintenance of fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, fire alarms, sprinkler systems and gas suppression. With new working practices in place, it’s also wise to consider updating your fire risk assessment.

It is worth noting that if customers are not able to meet their pre-planned servicing appointment, safety measures must be put in place by the Responsible Person to make sure those remaining on-site, and the building itself, are protected from the threat of fire. It is also advisable to make detailed notes of the cancelled servicing visit in your fire documents.

In order to ensure compliance with British Standards, we have processes to continue servicing our loyal customers:

  • Technicians are currently providing technical support via phone call if it is unsuitable for them to be on a customer site
  • Technicians are calling ahead to business premises’ and undertaking site works without the need to come into contact with anyone else
  • We are providing reassurance that customers can still reach a qualified fire safety or security technician, whether that’s by email, phone or video call
  • We are asking care home facilities and customers who have at-risk residents to defer scheduled works in order to protect vulnerable people. If this isn’t possible, we are asking to be provided with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) if our own is not deemed suitable.
  • Churches Fire reserves the right not to enter buildings if we feel there is an active COVID-19 case, or increased risk during this time. This is so we can protect our other customers, as well as our staff.

FIRE, CCTV AND INTRUDER ALARM MONITORING

Businesses cannot wait for a passer-by to hear an alarm or spot a fire, and so many make use of the alarm monitoring service from Churches Fire.

When an alarm is activated, an alert is instantly sent to an alarm receiving centre (ARC). This in turn sends a signal to the nominated key holders within the business, and then to the fire and rescue or police services if there has been no response from the key holder.

Partnering with EMCS, the industry’s leading independent alarm monitoring company, Churches Fire give our customer’s peace of mind that their business is protected as well as it can be from the threat of fire and theft.

As our qualified technicians continue to operate as Key Workers during this time, they are ready and available to install alarm monitoring to existing fire alarm, CCTV and intruder alarm systems.

These systems are monitored at the ARC twenty four hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. As part of Churches Fire’s responsibility to provide working fire and security equipment, we perform regular servicing and maintenance to alarm systems.

ADJUSTED FIRE EVACUATION POLICY

In times when there are less people on-site than usual, businesses should look at implementing an amended fire evacuation policy.

In any comprehensive evacuation plan, provisions should already be in place to cover staff holidays and absences. It’s vital to consider what actions need to be taken should the usual fire wardens and back-ups be unavailable.

The same actions should take place in the event of a fire, including raising the alarm via a call point, evacuating the building and calling 999 to request the fire brigade.

VITAL WEEKLY TESTING

Churches Fire strongly recommends that all customers continue to test their fire alarms weekly. This is essential throughout the year, and has never been more important than during the current COVID-19 situation.

Remember that it’s best to carry out these tests on a midweek morning, and not on a Friday or weekend.

Check out our guide video on how to perform this crucial maintenance.

SUPPORTING OUR CUSTOMERS

In the identification of fire and rescue service employees and support staff as Key Workers, Churches Fire is pleased that the Government have recognised the importance of fire safety, whatever the current situation.

We are dedicated to the continued protection against fire and theft. By continuing our essential work for industries across the country, we are proud to do our duties as part of the national effort.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Churches Fire point-of-contact.

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