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Are some of the UK's convenience stores contravening fire safety regulations?

Guest Mr S Gibb

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Guest Mr S Gibb

1. I've noticed some stores inc. large "Poundstretchers" and "99p" shop chains have started to block off their storefront entrances/exits with long and unbroken aisle 'barriers' of products - on mid-height shelving - so that customers no longer have an easy and straight exit/entry from store front to store back through the middle of the store;- instead the customer can only enter via the left (or right) side aisle and walk up the entire length of it (to about the middle of the store length) before they reach a junction which then gives them access to the blocked off central aisles. Therefore, in the event of a fire, anyone who is caught in these central aisles will find that their straight or easy route to the front entrance/exit is completely blocked by that initial first barrier of products. Is this not considered an unacceptable blocking of the primary fire escape route?

2. All "Lidl" convenience stores are using a series of gates/metal barriers to block the easy exit back through their primary entrance/exit, and also to block the equivalent entry/access through any of their empty checkout aisles. The mechanism for unlocking and opening these checkout aisle gates is not easily obvious;- it involves finding and then lifting up a small plastic block at their side. As the primary fire exit routes to the front of the store, and since they don't have the required obvious and easy push mechanism - such as a bar or a pad - to easily open them, aren't these locked gates/barriers considered as blocking a primary fire escape route if not left open?

Thankyou for any clarification you can give on this issue.

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You would need to study the fire risk assessment, fire procedure and measure the travel distances to decide if any regulation are being contravened. I would think these national companies employ fire safety assessors and their fire safety would be of a satisfactory standard. You could report your concerns to the enforcing authority the local fire and rescue service who could conduct a fire safety audit.

Check out http://www.firesafe.org.uk/uk-fire-rescue-services-details/

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