Businesses urged to check fire safety measures

Businesses across Tyne and Wear are being urged to check they are safe from the risks of fire.

This comes as part of the launch of Business Safety Week, a campaign promoted by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) which runs from 10-16 September.

The week encourages all businesses to double check they have taken the steps required by law to protect their business, employees and the public from fire. Advice will also be given on preventing arson attacks, reducing false alarms, and if needed fire safety advice for premises with sleeping accommodation.

Business Safety Week logo

TWFRS Head of Fire Safety Richie Rickaby said: “We work with businesses all year round supporting them in complying with the latest fire safety legislation and helping them to make sure that customers and employees are as safe as possible.

“This week provides a special focus for business fire safety and we are urging all businesses in Tyne and Wear to think about fire safety as they prepare for the busy winter shopping period.

“While TWFRS supports businesses through engagement, we will also carry out enforcement when necessary.

“The safety of the public is at the heart of everything we do, therefore we will continue to work with our partners to support the business community and promote fire safety compliance.”
This week is also timely for businesses that intend to store and sell fireworks. They should ensure their premises have a current explosives licence and adequate fire safety provisions to store fireworks safely.

To apply for a licence please contact us at:

Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland 0191 444 1264 or 0191 444 1249
Newcastle and North Tyneside 0191 444 1002 or 0191 444 1004

In the last financial year TWFRS attended 237 fires in a non-domestic property with 20 of those spreading from secondary fires outside of the building, therefore it is important to consider outside your premises as well as the inside.

For further information on NFCC UK Business Safety Week visit
For general business fire safety advice visit
For more information on the Primary Authority and the ‘Better Business for All’ schemes visit;

Notes to Editor

Prohibition Notices Statistics

22 served in total in the last 2 years for sleeping in commercial premises:
North Tyneside – 4
Gateshead – 9
Newcastle – 5
Sunderland – 4
South Tyneside – 0

Currently we have 28 active prohibition notices in force for sleeping in commercial properties


Restaurant in Sunderland City Centre was served a Prohibition Notice in May this year. Due to the serious nature of the fire safety deficiencies found, the second and first floors were prohibited.

This premises is currently under investigation as our FS Inspectors recently found that these areas were being occupied which was in contravention of the Notice. Once a Prohibition Notice has been served, our Inspectors carry out regular inspections to ensure that the business is complying with the restriction. It is a criminal offence to breach a Prohibition Notice and this should serve as a warning to other business owners that we will investigate and take proportionate action in order to protect staff and the public. Those found guilty of fire safety offences could face unlimited fines and/or up to 2 years imprisonment.


A busy takeaway premises in the centre of Newcastle was served a Notice prohibiting sleeping in the premises. This was served as a result of intelligence from the Local Authority Food Hygiene Department and a subsequent multi-agency visit where evidence was found that the loft space was being used as an area for staff to sleep without the necessary fire safety measures in place for this use.

This case demonstrates how closely we work with our partner agencies, the Police and Local Authority Environmental Health and Food Hygiene to ensure the safety of all persons on the premises. The fire safety conditions were so bad, with inadequate means of escape and fire alarm systems, that persons would have been at immediate and serious risk of death or injury had a fire occurred on the premises.

North Tyneside

Three storey premises, ground and first floor used as a licenced restaurant and top floor used as a sleeping accommodation for employees. A Prohibition Notice was served to restrict sleeping, resting and residence on the premises due to the inadequacy of the fire alarm throughout the premises. This is an example of a business not having the necessary general fire precautions in place for what the building was being used for.
Many licensed premises have facilities for sleeping and ‘resting’ due to the hours of business. Business owners must carry out a thorough Fire Risk Assessment to ensure that any staff who may be asleep or resting, have appropriate means of being alerted to a fire and are able to escape safely. This includes having appropriate fire resisting separation between the commercial and domestic areas. If this protected route, separate to the business, is not provided, persons may be at serious risk of death or injury in event of a fire.


In May last year a warehouse in Gateshead was served a Prohibition Notice preventing sleeping on the premises as a result of a Fire Safety Audit carried out by one of our FS Inspectors.

In this case, the occupier of the building was living there with a young family. The fire safety legislation safeguards both business owners and staff against the risk of death or serious injury from fire therefore, a Prohibition Notice was served to ensure the building was only used for the purpose it was designed. Fire does not differentiate between the people in control of the premises and staff therefore, we will still take proportionate action where we believe any person is at risk of death or serious injury in event of fire, due to inappropriate domestic use.