Faversham’s firefighters and Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) Business Engagement Team held a joint safety day in the town last week.
The event was organised by Faversham crew manager, Dan Packham, following a fire earlier this year, which saw six fire engines, a height vehicle and around 30 firefighters tackle a blaze in a shop in Preston Street.
The fire was believed to have started in a store room at the rear of the shop, destroying half of the ground floor and causing smoke damage to the flat above. The fire also spread sideways through voids, causing damage to neighbouring shops and homes.
Dan said: “Prevention is always better than cure. Any fire whenever it occurs in the workplace has the potential to disrupt your business and the people who rely on your services. The cost of shutting your business down, even temporarily, can mean some businesses may never recover.
“The event was about providing fire safety advice for businesses and also the residents living in the flats above. We spoke to people about the help and support we can provide to help prevent a fire and encouraged people to include fire safety as part of their everyday routine.”
Crews gave out safety advice and highlighted the importance of ensuring:
- Escape routes are kept clear
- Not holding too much stock, which can provide unnecessary fire loading
- That employers carry out a fire risk assessment and review it regularly
- Fire equipment such as, fire alarms and extinguishers are tested and serviced regularly
- Staff are trained and know what to do in the event of a fire
- The potential fire risk of poorly maintained equipment or electrical circuits
- Good housekeeping standards
- Businesses help protect themselves from arson by storing waste away from buildings and avoiding the accumulation of waste.
A number of shops, businesses and homes were visited on the day and crews will continue to visit properties in the coming weeks.
Nuala Brenchley-Sayers, owner of the Vaults Cask and Kitchen said: “After the fire in Preston Street, many of us were worried about the affect a fire could have on our businesses.
“Kent Fire and Rescue Service were out the next day, giving advice and information and this has continued. As well as the amazing job the firefighters did at the time, their support after has been so reassuring and has encouraged many of us to change practices to make our premises safer.”
KFRS also offers free safety events and seminars to help businesses understand the simple steps that can be taken to keep business in business and safe from fire.
More photos from the day are available on Flickr