Keep extra Christmas stock safe

Keep your extra Christmas stock safe

If you’re a retailer, your shelves and storage areas are probably full to bursting with extra stock for a bumper season.

But beware, while the risk of fire may not be top of mind, you’re being warned to check your stock is stored safely, that fire equipment is accessible, and sprinkler systems and fire exits are clear to help avoid a fire disaster.

According to John Lynch from fire-protection specialist Wormald, ‘During the busy holiday trading season we see many retailers overloading their storage areas. In doing so, they risk affecting the spray pattern of their sprinkler heads. In the event of a fire, sprinklers may not function properly and they risk losing everything. We are urging store owners and managers to undertake a fire safety audit of their premises in the lead-up to Christmas to reduce potential fire hazards.

‘Remember, insurance premiums may be affected if fire equipment isn’t working properly and losses may not be covered if equipment is found to be lacking,’ he continues.

Six tips for holiday stock

  • Check your storage areas to ensure excess boxes are not blocking the sprinkler heads. Stock stored under a sprinkler head should have a gap from the underside of the sprinkler head of at least 500mm.
  • Make sure you have appropriate fire-safety equipment. For example, some hazardous materials require carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers rather than powder extinguishers.
  • Check the yellow tag around the neck of the fire extinguisher and around the nozzle of hose reels to check when they were last serviced. Fire extinguishers and hose reels are required to be tested every six months.
  • Make sure floor stock is not blocking fire exists and access to fire extinguishers and hose reels is easily accessible.
  • Take a walk around the store to ensure all exit signs are clearly visible and that fire doors are open and not blocked with excess stock or worse still, barred or locked.
  • Train all staff, including casuals, on the use of fire equipment and procedures.

Most fires are preventable and many can be contained if the right fire-safety solutions are in place and people are trained to respond appropriately.