The duty of a Fire Inspector is to make sure your retail business is safe, not only for the customers, but also the employees.  Retail owners need to understand and learn what is required of them as a retail outlet.  Calling in the local Fire Inspector to look at new displays designs and store layout prior to opening can save everyone a headache.  What “we think” is a small inconvenience for a customer to walk around a display, may be a safety hazards or violation of city municipality codes.

New employees need to understand taking shortcuts and stacking up empty cardboard cartons next to an emergency exit is not acceptable.  Every employee should know where all fire extinguishers are located and how to operate them correctly.   Posting of emergency phone number should be clearly marked for all employees to see.  Procedures on what to do if a fire occurs and how to evacuate the store should be address.  After all this is your business and as a retail owner you are responsible for the safety of customers and employees.

Do not assume you know what you are doing as a retail owner when it comes to fire safety. Most Fire Inspectors will work with you develop proper training material or may offer a class at your facility to educate owners, managers, and employees.  Employee inexperience may stack two products side-by-side, when combined are highly combustible or hazardous. Proper education will prevent these mishaps and also save you time and money rearrange store merchandize.

Just as you plan for the seasons, make sure you train staff regularly and often.  Many retails stores hire temporary staff during the holidays, mandate a safety day and reiterate the safety requirements.  If possible schedule the Fire Inspector to be present.  Some employees may think this is a goof off meeting and not take it seriously.

Learn to work with the Fire Inspector and have a safe and educated staff, minus the headaches of moving merchandise or redesigning displays.