New fire team will work with businesses

09:34 27 March 2013

Graham Rooke, station manager; Neil Hole, watch commander; Kevin Parfitt, fire safety officer and Colin Mills, station manager at Bideford Fire Station.

Graham Rooke, station manager; Neil Hole, watch commander; Kevin Parfitt, fire safety officer and Colin Mills, station manager at Bideford Fire Station.

Archant

Fire safety officers will carry out three to four-times more inspections of business properties than before.

FIRE fighters will be able to carry out fire safety inspections in up to four times as many businesses than before in Torridge with the formation of a new team.

By reallocating resources, fire safety officers will focus on working with businesses such as hotels, guest houses and houses of multiple occupation to ensure legislation is complied with.

In September 2012, the owners of Tantons Hotel in Bideford, which was involved in a major fire in May 2011, were fined £40,000 for breaching a number of regulations.

Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service spent 600 hours bringing the prosecution – 600 hours, said Bideford station manager Graham Rooke, that he would rather spend working with businesses.

“We don’t want to have to prosecute people, we want to spend time working with businesses and helping them comply with legislation,” he said.

“We recently carried out a number of free business compliance events in North Devon which saw around 200 hotel and guest house owners attending.

“The feedback we had from people was really positive, which was great.”

Neil Hole, watch manager at Bideford Fire Station, said although the majority of businesses did comply with legislation, he had seen a number of common breaches.

“I’ve seen rubbish bags blocking escape routes, no batteries in fire alarms; in one property all of the fire alarms were covered in plastic bags,” he said.

“The biggest problem is a lack of understanding from landlords, which is what we are aiming to try and change by working with them, not against them.”

Fire safety officers hope to increase the amount of basic checks on businesses to 300-400 properties across the area.

“Our main priority is properties where people sleep,” explained Mr Rooke.

“People think the smoke will wake them up, but in actual fact it contains cyanide which will send them into a deeper sleep.”

And group commander Neil Blackburn said the service would do everything they could to look at different options for businesses.

He said: “We know times are tough, but there is often a solution which doesn’t require spending money; we want to be business friendly.”

Any business owners who would like to speak to a fire safety officer can contact Bideford Fire Station on 01237 423859 or visit www.dsfire.gov.uk for more information.

Related articles

0 comments

Other News Stories

Fri, 16:40
The Pride in Ilfracombe winners with their awards and Mayor, George Squires. Picture: Sam Scott

Unsung heroes and heroines of all ages step forward at the Pride in Ilfracombe Awards.

Read more
Fri, 16:39
Barnstaple will see in 2015 with a fireworks display, it has been confirmed.

Firms stump up the cash to help town see in 2015 in style.

Read more
Fri, 12:46
The pups in their new home

Wildlife and Dinosaur Park team up with RSPCA to help seal pups

Read more
Fri, 11:39
Kevin Carlyle’s festive lights display in Springfield Road, Bickington. Picture: Submitted

Festive display pulls in the crowds – and donations for air ambulance.

Read more

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Subscriptions
Reader travel
Advertise
Photo Orders
Competitions
Facebook
Twitter
North Devon Football League
North Devon Gazette E-edition

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition
North Devon�s trusted business finder