THE fire service has launched a new strategy to protect Somerset's most vulnerable businesses 'in an uncertain environment' - focusing on care homes.

Business Safety Officers at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have launched a new business safety protection strategy for firms while social distancing measures are in place.

The fire service has started making calls to 800 care homes across the two counties to provide general fire safety advice and additional support.

A more detailed phone call to discuss specific requirements will follow at a later date.

Nick Jones, fire safety protection delivery manager, said: “We’re aware businesses are operating in an uncertain environment.

"Our aim as a Fire Service is to ensure businesses are both safe and comply with their duties under fire safety law, whilst also understanding that these are exceptionally challenging conditions for all."

On March 18, following UK Government advice via Public Health England and the National Fire Chiefs Council, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service suspended its risk-based inspection programme.

Since then, firefighters have continued to respond to safety concerns and provide advice to businesses remotely, via telephone and video call, prioritising ‘high risk’ sectors such as healthcare providers and care homes.

The Service Business Safety team understands that owners and managers of care homes will have conflicting priorities during the Covid-19 restrictions.

A spokesman said: "Our new strategy aims to ‘educate, inform and support’ businesses to ensure they continue to keep people who work, stay, and visit their premises safe from fire during these challenging times.

"We will also be re-starting our risk-based inspection programme by incorporating a remote assessment as an alternative to physical inspections - where appropriate - to protect vulnerable occupants.

"This new way of working adheres to Government guidance to prevent Covid-19 escalation, protects staff and ensures statutory requirements are met.

"We will continue to monitor and adapt our strategy as Government guidance is updated.

If you have any fire safety questions related to premises regulated by fire safety law, such as care homes or workplaces, contact the Fire Safety Help Desk on 01392 872567, between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, or email

More information about business safety is available at