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So, the new range has arrived and the aim is to show the new cars in all their glory in your gleaming showroom.

But, have you considered the fire safety implications?

In our experience as fire risk assessors, certain risks keep on appearing in the motor dealership sector.

  • A common risk is that of extension leads – health and safety is observed in limiting trip hazards with leads taped down or covered. However, the reels are often left unwound on the cable reels.
    What is the fire risk? Overheating of the cable that is coiled on the reel, which melts the insulation and ignites.
  • Blocking of fire exit routes is also common in showrooms where the cars are positioned for maximum visual effect but once the doors are open or other vehicles moved the means of escape can become obstructed.
    What is the fire risk? Travel distances are increased to the final fire exits, which can cost valuable time in the evacuation of persons especially those who are unfamiliar with the building or disabled.
  • The garage area has its own set of risks and hazards that need to be carefully managed. A common finding is the amount of aerosols and other compressed gas cylinders, which are not always stored in a metal cabinet overnight. Where flammable liquids and gasses are used in the workplace limited amounts only should be left out of the storage facility and returned once the job is completed. Any flammable gasses or liquids should be placed in an adequate cabinet, which is clearly marked and secured shut at the end of the working day. It is also advisable to have external signage to indicate that flammable liquids and gasses and compressed gas are stored within the building so that the fire and rescue service can act accordingly in fire fighting duties.
    What is the fire risk? By not following the advice above an explosive atmosphere can develop and this could place the fire and rescue service personnel at great risk to which the responsible person will be answerable.
  • The stores are another area where high amounts of packaging can accumulate. This packaging can consist of cardboard, bubble wrap, plastics and wood. All of which make a decent fire if ignited! It has been known for packaging to be stored next to the fire exit for disposal or under a mezzanine floor out the way. Both would have catastrophic consequences if a fire were to develop in these areas.
    What is the fire risk? The loss of an escape route or more than one means of escape due to a fast development of fire and where plastic is involved – acrid smoke quickly filling the area.

Summary

Good housekeeping is the answer to lowering most of the risks to an acceptable level.

Simple and common sense can protect the persons using the business – staff, customers and other relevant persons.

Regular reviews of the fire risk assessment and refresher training for the fire wardens creates a culture of fire prevention which will ensure compliance with fire legislation and also ensure the new cars will always look their very best.

If you have any questions or would like to get quality fire safety advice by a third party accredited fire safety company please contact us, we’d be only to happy to help.

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