It’s been a challenging year, but before heading off to enjoy your Christmas, it’s important to give a little bit of thought to the potential fire and security risks to your premises, particularly if your offices will be empty over the Christmas and New Year break.

We’ve created a handy guide to help keep your premises safe from fire and burglary this festive season.

Preventing a Fire

If your office has embraced the festive cheer this December, you may be tempted to leave your Christmas tree, lights, and decorations unattended while your offices are closed. Removing any fire risks such as flammable electric lights and discarded Christmas wrapping is the first step to mitigating your risk of experiencing a fire when your offices are empty. Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid increasing your risk of a fire in your offices:

  • Switch off and unplug any electricals such as fairy lights before leaving the premises
  • Remove any flammable materials such as Christmas trees that are located near an electrical or heat source such as radiators
  • Never leave candles unattended
  • Remove and recycle where possible any discarded Christmas wrapping

Mitigating Your Risks

It is important that any change in environment is met with an assessment of any potential new fire risks. This means that when you are reorganising your space to decorate for Christmas (even if it is only for 2 to 3 weeks), you should revisit your fire risk assessment to ensure that no new fire risks are present. A common oversight during the festive season is the blocking of fire exits by Christmas trees, which could cause huge problems in the event of a fire.

Further actions which employers and business owners can take as we approach the festive season include:

  • Testing your fire alarm systems before you leave for your Christmas break;
  • Checking fire safety equipment such as extinguishers; and
  • Making sure that any staff left in the office between Christmas and New Year know how to use fire extinguishers;
  • Practicing fire drills.

For more information and guidance about your fire safety responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, take a look at our Guides & Advice page.

Preventing Theft

Burglars and vandals are known to target businesses during the Christmas season, as many offices are left empty and without security staff. Preparing your premises for several days or weeks of inactivity is vital to ensure that your building isn’t vulnerable to theft or damage. To prepare for the Christmas break, there are several actions you can take:

  • Lock away valuable items in secure rooms, or remove them entirely from the premises
  • Mark equipment and valuables using ultra-violet marker to help identify stolen property, should the worst happen
  • Advise employees to empty lockers or community areas of personal belongings when leaving the premises

For more information about how to deter opportunistic thieves this Christmas, visit our Guides & Advice page.

About FireCare

At FireCare, we provide pragmatic, comprehensive fire safety services to businesses throughout Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey and London.  To book your complementary compliance audit, call our friendly team today on 023 8026 9833, or email info@firecareandsecurity.co.uk.