Fires in the Retail Sector
High streets and shopping centres across the UK welcome a large number of visitors every day for leisure and business. Usually located within communities, town centres or with good transport links and road access, any problems or disasters in a retail outlet will likely have major consequences for the local area.
As of 2017 there were 192,000 VAT-registered retailers in the UK, which collectively operate out of over 290,00 retail outlets. The Fire Protection Association has reported that retail fires account for 10.5% of all large loss fires.
The RISC Authority also report that the cost of retail fires account for 12% of all large financial loss, with a mean average cost of £835,403 per fire.
Furthermore, Department Store fires account for 12% of all Retail loss, with a mean average cost of £2,968,517per fire.
The consequences of retail fires go much further than the financial loss. With visitors to evacuate and protect, the impact on neighbouring businesses as well the local transport infrastructure to consider.
A fire in Harrogate shows the impact of a retail fire on the town centre, roads and schools whilst firefighters tackled the blaze. And similar scenes appeared in Bristol when a city centre store caught fire, just two weeks after it opened
Early detection can help to make fires like these a thing of the past. Fast detection and a quick response time can mean fires don’t reach these levels and both people and businesses are protected.
It’s also key to limit false alarms as much as possible when detecting fires so as not to cause unnecessary panic and confusion in a busy retail environment.
The installation of a fire alarm system that quickly detects a fire at its source, alerts the necessary people and records in real-time is crucial.
For retail environments, we recommend our FCamSolo™. Designed for indoor or outdoor use, the FCamSolo™ combines a high-quality security camera with the revolutionary dual-sensor IR technology that makes the FCam Series the most reliable and accurate fire detection solution in the world.
The FCamSolo™ offers flame detection in both outdoor and indoor areas, making it suitable for the retail environment. Providing smoke detection indoors, the FCamSolo™ detects fires fast, with a detection time of less than 15 seconds.
PROTECTING YOUR RETAIL SPACE
As well as using a video fire detection system for your fire and security, here are a few ideas for how you can make sure your retail space is protected in the event of a fire.
Fire Risk Assessment– Regularly carry out a Fire Risk Assessment of your retail space including all stock rooms as well as the shop front area. It is a legal requirement to have a suitably experienced person conduct a Fire Risk Assessment of the premises (this can be an external consultant, but it doesn't necessarily need to be), and to act on the findings of that risk assessment. The Fire Risk Assessment must be reviewed at least annually, and also any time changes happen to the premises.
Routine Checks – You should also routinely check emergency lights, fire exit routes, fire alarm call points, fire extinguishers etc. The frequency of those checks varies depending on the risk, but some are daily, weekly, monthly etc. There's also a requirement to have it all checked by a competent servicing organisation at regular intervals.
Queue systems – Regularly review how your customers are queuing to get to the till point and what happens when your shop has higher footfall. Are your emergency exits blocked? Could there be a safer alternative?
Stock rooms – it’s very easy to overload stock rooms with leftover stock, empty packaging, staff belongings, paperwork etc. Regularly clear out these spaces and make sure heat sources are well ventilated, electrical points aren’t overloaded and exits are kept clear. One of the biggest challenges in retail is keeping exit routes clear from stock and packaging etc which can also result in large fines.