Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety


The aim of this section is to give you an understanding of:


- The nature of fire

- Fire hazards and risk

- Fire prevention at work

- What to do if you find a fire

- How to select and use a portable fire extinguisher safely

- Your role in store


A definition of Fire is ‘the rapid oxidation of a fuel involving heat, particulates, gases and non-ionizing radiation’





There are 3 things that must be present at the same time to produce fire:


1. Enough Oxygen to sustain combustion

2. Enough Heat to reach ignition temperature

3. Some Fuel or combustible material


Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Together, they produce the chemical reaction that is fire. Take away any of these things and the fire will be extinguished. Fire safety, at its most basic, is based upon the principle of keeping fuel sources and ignition sources separate.


1. Oxygen

2. Heat: Common sources of ignition are:

Smoking and discarded smoking materials

Poorly maintained or overloaded electrical equipment

Heaters too close to sources of fuel

Hot work such as welding, cutters or grinding




3. Common sources of fuel in fires are:


Paper & boxes etc.


Flammable liquids and gases


Carpets & Furniture


Waste Materials



Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety



The aim of fire prevention is to keep the 3 sides of the fire triangle apart i.e. oxygen, fuel and ignition sources.  This involves:


Reducing the storage of combustible materials to as low as possible

     monitor store stock levels & how it is stored; make sure you can move around the building easily and that stock is not stored in walkways


Control of ignition sources

     follow the Company’s strict no smoking policy

     take care when heating food, making toast etc.


Keeping materials well clear of sources of ignition

     keep clear of electrical cupboards (these must be closed & liquids, stock/ sources of ignition kept clear)

     ensure electrical equipment has appropriate ventilation around it so it does not over-heat, e.g. do not store papers on top/at the side of equipment blocking vents or preventing the circulation of air

     do not use laminators, or heat guns on carpeted areas

     do not store stock too close to light fittings or other sources of heat


Good housekeeping to prevent the build-up of combustible rubbish

     control waste e.g. cardboard packaging

     the Duty Manager will conduct fire checks/floor walks at the end of the day i.e. checks to ensure bins are emptied, electric heaters, air con, computers, kitchen appliances are turned off i.e. anything that could potentially cause an electrical or waste fire


Electrical safety

-     report any damaged electrical equipment, wiring or equipment which is overheating

         -        do not overload plug sockets/extension cables or ‘daisy chain’ extension cables one to another


Planned maintenance including regular inspections

     report any maintenance issues to your manager e.g. damaged plugs, missing ceiling tiles (this could help the spread of fire through the void), difficult to open fire doors etc.


Site security

     observe security e.g. move bins away from the building and lock them to prevent arson.

The above is non-exhaustive list: think about your store and its layout; is there anything else you need to consider?

Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety




Fire precautions are measures taken to minimise the risk to people in the event of a fire occurring.  These include:


-        Fire / smoke detection

-        Fire alarms

-        Means of escape including emergency evacuation procedures

-        Means of fighting fire (fire extinguishers)



Fire / smoke detection


There are a wide range of devices that exist for detecting either smoke or heat.






Fire alarms


In most stores, manually operated break glass points automatically operate the alarm when the glass is broken.  Fire / smoke detectors are often also linked to automatic alarms and in some cases the alarm can be linked to a door release (i.e. self-closing fire doors which are normally held open by electro-magnets).


In those stores where these aren’t present a manually operated bell or even simply shouting ‘fire fire’ may be adequate to raise the alarm.


It is a Company requirement that where fire alarms are present that they are tested on a weekly basis and a record of the test made. Practice evacuations or ‘fire drills’ are run every quarter.




Means of escape

A means of escape in case of fire is a continuous route along or through which people can travel unaided to the safety of the open air at ground level.  The route may include rooms, corridors, stairways and doorways.


Never wedge fire doors open.  They should be kept in the closed position to help prevent the spread of fire and kept clear (do not lock them during the day or leave shutters down) – they must be easily opened from the inside.  Don’t block fire exits, call points or extinguishers with stock or equipment.


Emergency escape routes will be indicated by ‘running man’ signs. Escape routes will have emergency lighting provided to help people to evacuate safely.  Emergency lighting will either be battery or mains operated or in some cases, supplied through torches, located in suitable and easily reached locations.


Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety



The management team in your store are, responsible for the evacuation procedure. Any individual who is in charge of a shift and/or opening/closing the store is required to take control in the event of an evacuation and take a roll call at the assembly point.


The role of individuals who are responsible for the store will also include ensuring on a daily basis that staff are working in a safe manner, fire exits are maintained, escape routes clear, extinguishers not obstructed etc.


Your store will have a fire action plan/ emergency exit procedure. This will be detailed on posters in the store as below:


Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Standard evacuation plans are also written in all stores outlining the procedures to be followed for the safe evacuation of disabled persons from its premises.  These are called Standard Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs).




Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Familiarise yourself with the escape routes of your building. Fire exits are clearly marked with the direction of flow.





- Leave the building immediately

- As you leave, turn off any process that may contribute to the fire spread

- Use the nearest safe exit away from the fire, escorting any customers or visitors with you (follow the PEEP plan should there be any disabled visitors or customers who need assistance.

-Walk quickly but do not run, closing the doors behind you

- Do not delay your exit to collect your belongs

- Attend the fire assembly point to await a roll call

- Do not return until told to do so by either the Duty Manager or Officer from the Fire & Rescue Service (where relevant)




Sound the alarm (depending on your store e.g. use the nearest ‘break glass point’, ring a non-automated fire bell or by shouting ‘Fire Fire’). Ensure you know how to raise the alarm in your store.

- You should not normally attempt to fight the fire unless your escape route is blocked.

-Evacuate as per the normal fire procedure

- Ensure the emergency services are called (this is normally the responsibility of the Duty Manager) by dialling 999 and provide details of your location


Fires can be very dangerous and you should always be certain that you will not endanger yourself or others when attempting to put out a fire.  If however, you route to safety is blocked and you need to use an extinguisher, be clear on what is burning, if you don't know what is burning, you wont know what kind of extinguisher to use!


Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Fire extinguishers

All fire extinguishers are maintained and serviced annually by an authorised engineer; should you become aware of an extinguisher that has not been checked within the preceding 12 months you should inform your Store Manager.


TASK – Take a look around your store and look at the location of all the fire extinguishers– make sure you know where they are all located and what type they are.


If you need to use a fire extinguisher:


It is important to select the correct fire extinguisher depending on the type of fire.  Using the wrong one could make the situation worse e.g.

     Using water on a flammable liquid fire could cause the fire to spread

     Using water on an electrical fire increases the risk of electrocution. If you have no choice but to use a Water Extinguisher on an electrical fire, make sure the electrical equipment is unplugged or de-energized.


Take a look at the chart below which details, which fire extinguisher should be used dependant on the type of fire:






Process - Development Challenges - Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Have you reviewed and understood the Fire Action document?


If no, do so now

Have you reviewed and understood the AG Personal Emergancy Exit Procedure?


If no, do so now

Have you reviewed and understood the Personal Emergancy Exit Procedures?


If no, do so now

Do you know where your fire assembly point is?


If no, ask your Store Manager now

Do you know where all fire exits are located?


If no ask your Store Manager now

Do you know where all fire extinguishers are located?


If no, ask your Store Manager now

The 3 elements that make up the fire triangle are:

Water, fuel, heat source

Oxygen, fuel, heat source

Some of the ways I can help with fire safety are through:

Good Housekeeping

Not blocking fire exits

Keeping stock clear of heat sources

All listed above

If I discover a fire, I should first

Sound the alarm

Call 999

Evacuate the building

It is ok to wedge open fire doors...



Water extinguishers can normally be used on electrical fires?



Emergancy escape routes are indicated by:

Running man sign

Fire action poster

If I need to use a fire extinguisher I need to:

Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep

Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Spray

Pick-up, Aim, Stand, Squeeze