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Safeguarding Retail Spaces: Your Essential Emergency Plan for Fire Safety at Work

By Maria Hickey on June 26th, 2023

As a business owner, one of your top priorities is to ensure the safety and well-being of both employees and customers in the event of a workplace emergency. Fire safety must be at the forefront of this agenda, with a comprehensive emergency plan implemented to protect everyone in danger should an accident happen.

In this article, we’ll explore some essential steps for creating an effective fire safety emergency plan that can give you peace of mind that your retail space is prepared in case disaster strikes.

Understanding Fire Safety Basics – What to Know About Fire Hazards

The first step in developing a workplace fire procedure is to have a clear understanding of the basics. It’s crucial to identify any potential hazards that might bring heat, fuel, or oxygen into contact with one another, as this is what causes fires.

Common workplace risks include:

1 Electrical equipment – Faulty wiring, overloaded sockets, and faulty appliances can increase the fire safety risk. Make sure that all electrical items are regularly checked for safety and that any problems are addressed right away.

2 Electrical faults – Electrical faults, such as overloaded circuits or damaged wiring, can also increase the chances of a fire occurring. Make sure that all electrical work is carried out by a qualified electrician and that any damage or problems are addressed immediately.

3 Flammable liquids – Flammable liquids such as paints, solvents, and cleaning materials should be stored away from any sources of heat or ignition.

4 Smoking – Smoking should be banned in all areas of the premises, and any smoking material should be extinguished safely before being disposed of.

5 Arson – Unfortunately, it is possible for a fire to be deliberately set. Make sure that your premises are properly secured and monitored and that any suspicious activity is reported immediately.

6 Storage and rubbish –Rubbish can be a major fire hazard if not stored or disposed of correctly. Make sure that all rubbish is cleared away regularly.

Creating an Emergency Plan – How to Evacuate Your Retail Space in an Emergency

Once you’ve identified any potential fire hazards, the next step is to create a workplace emergency plan that outlines exactly what should be done in the event of a fire. The workplace fire procedure should clearly state how employees and customers should evacuate the premises safely, as well as detailing who is responsible for what tasks. 

The evacuation plan should include:

• A designated workplace evacuation route – the quickest and safest route for everyone to evacuate.

• Designated assembly point – a place outside of the building where everyone can gather safely.

• Instructions on what to do when the fire alarm is triggered – this should include instructions on how to call 999 or other emergency services if necessary.

• Instructions on how to extinguish the fire – if the situation is safe to do so.

• Instructions on how to use a fire extinguisher – again, only if it’s safe to do so and you have someone trained in using them.

Assigning Responsibilities and Tasks – Who’s in Charge?

When it comes to workplace fire safety, it’s important that everyone in the workplace is aware of their individual roles and responsibilities. This includes assigning tasks to specific staff members, such as:

• Appointing a designated fire warden – this person should be responsible for arranging workplace evacuation drills and ensuring that everyone is aware of the workplace emergency plan.

• Appointing a first-aider – it’s important to have someone on hand in case of any injuries. Make sure they are familiar with your premises and know where all of the first aid equipment is located.

Updating Your Emergency Plan – Making Sure Your Plan is Always Relevant

When it comes to emergency preparedness, having a workplace fire procedure can make all the difference. However, simply creating a plan and calling it a day is not enough. Your emergency plan should be updated regularly to reflect changes in your environment, personal circumstances, and local emergency procedures. By taking the time to review and update your evacuation strategy, you can ensure that you are always prepared for the unexpected.

This could mean revisiting your emergency evacuation procedures, updating contact information, or reevaluating your workplace emergency supplies. Keeping your emergency plan relevant can help you stay calm and focused in the event of an emergency, and can play a crucial role in workplace fire safety and well-being.

Ensuring Fire Safety at Work – Implementing Your Emergency Plan Into Practice

Once your emergency plan is in place, it’s important to make sure that all employees and customers are aware of the workplace fire procedure. This should include organising a workplace evacuation fire drill at least once a year, so everyone can practise what to do in case of an emergency.

You should also provide regular fire safety training for your staff, as well as ensure that they know who to contact in the event of a fire. Make sure that everyone is familiar with the location of fire extinguishers and fire alarms, as well as how to use them properly if needed.

Finally, make sure that any escape routes are free from obstruction and clearly marked so all employees can evacuate quickly and safely should a workplace emergency occur.


Having a fire safety emergency plan in place is essential for any retail premises. By understanding the basics of workplace fire safety, creating an emergency plan, assigning responsibilities and tasks, regularly updating your workplace fire procedure, and implementing fire safety training, you can ensure that your workplace is prepared for the unexpected.

Get Retail Insurance Today

Having the right retail insurance in place can help protect your business from the financial implications of a fire. Here at Brisco, we can help you find the right insurance policy to fit your needs, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your business is protected.

Contact our expert team today to get started.

When it comes to claims management, our dedicated team at Brisco Business works tirelessly to ensure a smooth process for our business insurance customers.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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