I have just been reading an article in the Nottingham Post written by a reporter who one year later, has been back to the location of a fire in the Cattle Market in Nottingham to interview the owners of businesses that survived the fire. These stories really do underline the importance and benefits of installing a fire alarm system and the need to carry out regular fire risk assessments.
Those interviewed spoke of the impact the fire has had on their business. This includes:
- Business interruption and lost revenue from having to relocate or close their business during the fire investigation and clear up
- Loss of customers who thought they were no longer trading
- Reduction in turnover and profits because the area still has fewer businesses trading and lower footfall
- Strain on relationships, especially those who employed family members who were reliant on the business for income
- A continued need to promote themselves to remind customers they are still trading
An often reported statistic from those who offer disaster recovery solutions states that “Over 70% of businesses involved in a major fire either do not reopen, or subsequently fail within 3 years of the fire.” Reading this interview it is easy to understand why this percentage is so believable.
When we are asked for advice on fire safety by small businesses, very often one of the questions that many ask is why do I need a fire alarm system?
For businesses that employee more than five staff it is a legal requirement to install a fire alarm and, even though the Cattle Market is an industrial unit with many sole trader type businesses, we hope that these interviews help underline the need to install a fire alarm system, regardless of the size of business. The earlier the fire is detected, the quicker the response. This potentially means a reduction of immediate fire damage and hence the longer term impact could also be reduced.
Our advice is always to install a fire alarm system as they really do protect people, property and processes. We also advise business owners to carry out regular fire risk assessments on their business and ensure they are aware of external factors which unwittingly could affect their business as was the case in the Cattle Market.
Some of these factors may include being aware of building works, the activities that neighbouring businesses carry out that may impact you, and also being aware of the heightened risk of special events such as bonfire night.
The Cattle Market fire is thought to have been caused by sparks from a firework which got under a roller shutter door and into a warehouse unit storing mattresses. In total four premises were destroyed and nine damaged to varying extents. Following the fire, three people were arrested and face charges for causing the fire which is alleged to be related to fireworks being set off in the area. Sadly, their criminal prosecution will be little consolation to the people who had their business and livelihoods destroyed.
If you would like to understand the different types of fire alarms system and which would be best for your business please get in touch.