Your essential guide to keeping your commercial premises protected with regards to fire safety and security as we all weather the storm of the COVID-19 outbreak…
A must-read if the day-to-day running of your business has been affected by the pandemic.
*Don’t miss your FREE webinar “Coronavirus: Your Business Survival Tips” this Wednesday 1st April at 11am! WFP’s Founder & Managing Director, Paul Field, will be hosting a live Zoom video chat for anyone who would like fire safety and security advice for their business, PLUS special guests including Minal Backhouse of Backhouse Solicitors for HR advice, John Fergus of The Insurance Experts for insurance guidance, and Wayne Hockley of Anthony Russel for finance tips. Click HERE to access the free live video chat this Wednesday at 11am.*
(If you have an urgent query, then we have also extended our telephone support service for technical assistance to non-customers between 8am and 5pm every weekday.)
No one could have predicted that we’d be welcoming spring 2020 under these circumstances.
Many are being encouraged to work from home, if they have not already been instructed to quarantine themselves or have self-isolated for other reasons.
For business owners and site managers, this now means that premises are being left vacant or with skeleton staff to keep everyday operations afloat.
Your business is your prime investment. It provides a service your customers rely on. It provides income and careers for your workers. It’s your blood, sweat and tears.
And so is everything that comes with it – your people, your data, your stock, and so on. So, we need to keep them all protected.
Here’s what you can do to help a) mitigate risks of spreading the Coronavirus within your premises and b) protect your business when there’s limited staff on site, or if it’s left completely vacant:
1. Switch to Prox Tags for Your Intruder Alarm
If you (and others) currently use a code which you manually type into your intruder alarm, then this is one way in which germs can easily spread. A ‘prox tag’ (proximity tag) uses the same technology as contactless cards and identifies you as a key holder, so you can simply tap it onto your intruder alarm’s panel instead of having to manually type in a code.
Other than the benefit of it being more hygienic, you’ll also find it faster, which is also particularly useful if you’ve got different secure access points across your site. Plus, if someone leaves the company, you won’t have to worry about resetting the codes, as they’ll simply hand in their prox tag upon leaving, which will be disabled. Many also find this more secure, as proximity cards and tags are difficult to duplicate and counterfeit.
Click the below video to see top tips from Paul, our Founder & Managing Director, for your intruder alarm during the Coronavirus pandemic, including alternatives to keying in codes and how to clean it.
2. Install the App for Your Intruder Alarm on Your Smartphone
Thanks to modern day technology, you don’t even need to be on your premises to activate your intruder alarm. Simply with an app on your phone you can set it, giving you complete peace of mind if you’re at home.
3. Wipe Down All Alarm System Panels & Communal Areas
If you’re a site or building manager, and you’re constantly touching areas such as your fire alarm panel to carry out weekly tests or intruder alarm panels (and particularly if your building has a door entry system with buttons touched by all to enter) then it’s important to keep these areas as clean as possible. Anti-bacterial wipes can be used to clean these, with particular attention to be paid in areas of high footfall. (It’s a good idea to keep these clean anyway, and kudos to you if you do!) All door handles, kitchen areas, toilets and other communal areas within your premises should be cleaned consistently, and it’s a good idea to liaise with your cleaning staff and re-evaluate all cleaning procedures to ensure all precautions are being taken to protect everyone whilst also adequately sanitising your premises.
4. Consider Alarm Monitoring
If you have a fire alarm and/or an intruder alarm in your premises but you don’t have monitoring, that means if the alarm was activated when no one was there (e.g. overnight and during school holidays, or in our present circumstances for some, during the day) you are fully relying on someone else in the proximity of your premises to hear the alarm and contact you and/or the emergency services.
Monitoring means that your alarm system is connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre, which will contact the emergency services and/or designated key holders as soon as the alarm is activated.
This, for many, is 24/7 reassurance and peace of mind that if the fire alarm was activated (e.g. due to an arson attack) then the fire brigade will be called out immediately to attend. Similarly, if the intruder alarm had monitoring, then upon an intrusion, this would activate, giving the offending individual a very limited time to create any damage before the police would arrive to investigate.
You can have both your fire and intruder alarm connected with monitoring to cover both eventualities so if either alarm is activated, you/designated keyholders will be notified and the emergency services can also attend.
You can even have monitoring for your alarm which creates an alert when there is a fault on the system, so if you’re not on the premises to learn that the fault exists then you can be notified of this to get it rectified, so there is zero downtime of your alarm system.
For approximately £1 a day you can achieve this peace of mind, which will undoubtedly benefit you, even long after the Coronavirus is a distant memory.
5. If You Do Have Monitoring, Look into Who Your Keyholders Are
With monitoring in place, you should have a minimum of three designated key holders listed to be called if the alarm is ever activated.
Now is the time to revise this and it’s important to keep revising this, as if you have someone listed who is in quarantine then they cannot attend site to investigate if the alarm is activated.
6. If Your Building is Vacant, Now is the Time to Carry Out Essential Work
Schools and office buildings, in particular, are using closures as an opportunity to get essential remedial work carried out, which they originally would have had to schedule to take place outside of normal working hours to minimise disruption, or stomach the disruption in a full and operative building.
If you have essential repairs or installation work which is needed, use this time wisely to get it done. Many of our engineers, for instance, are granted access from site support and skeleton staff, giving them free access to all areas without disruption to carry out much-needed remedial work, maintenance services and installations, which otherwise may have taken longer when adhering to normal day-to-day building operations.
7. Ensure Your CCTV is Functional & You Can Monitor Your Premises on Your Phone
Many who have CCTV installed may not have had it serviced in quite some time could have cameras or a playback system which is not fully functional or needs updating, so it’s a great time to ensure they’re all running efficiently.
Plus, if you don’t already, it’s super easy to set up the app on your smartphone to enable you to check in to the office and the surrounding site from your mobile.
If you have any questions pertaining to the above, please get in touch.
We’re here for you and we’re here to ensure that your business is protected throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, so you’ve got complete peace of mind that you can return to operating normally without any further downtime as a result of a lack of precautionary measures.
And if you found this article useful, please go ahead and share in on social media so others like you can benefit.
Post by Verity Stone
Hi, I’m Verity! WFP’s Marketer and Customer Liaison. As well as ensuring our customers are happy with their service, I’m a huge fan of spreading the word about fire safety and security to help keep businesses safe and legal.More posts by Verity Stone