Tesco leaves elderly instore during fire evacuation... ~ Tesco-Complaint

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tesco leaves elderly instore during fire evacuation...

My elderly parents were shopping at The Tesco store in Chelmsford, Princess Road, on Friday 2nd February 2007 at approx 10.30 am in the morning when the Fire Alarm went off. As the alarm went off everyone looked at each other wondering what to do, then everyone started making their way to the store entrance. All the checkout staff seemed to disappear, there was no announcement over the tannoy, and no direction from any of the staff whatsoever. The fire exit in the centre of the store by the window near the checkouts was locked due to building works. Everyone was going towards the main entrance, no one was being directed to any alternative fire exits. Once outside shoppers were blocking the entrance by standing about, so that others could not get outside. What has happened to Fire Safety at Princess Road, Chelmsford, why was there no direction from any of the staff. It seems that customers were left to exit the store without any guidance or direction from staff whatsoever. Fortunately this was either a very small fire in some small section of the building, or a false alarm, or the alarm had been accidentally set off by the builders. If this had been a more serious fire I dread to think what would have happend - mass panic with injury and loss of life I imagine. Please investigate this incident!!! Could someone reply please. Helen.


Anonymous said...

If a fire alarm goes off get OUT, dont wait to be told by someone to go....

Al said...

If there's a fire exit nearby that isn't blocked off due to building works then open it and use it.

Common sense when the fire alarm goes off anywhere is that you do not leave the building and then stand right next to it. I've seen it before where people will leave and stand directly outside the doors which slows everyone else behind them and puts themselves at risk if there is actually a fire.

There should have been some sort of announcement to evacuate the store by the nearest exit, so that is one area where they have failed.

TM said...

Everytime I've been invloved in a fire alarm evacustion most customers virtually refuse to move back from the front of the store, or look at you blankly when you ask that they do. They are more concerned about being the first to get back in after it's all over.

When you do ask them to leave the store, all they seem bothered about is their shopping trolley!

Anonymous said...

As a Tesco employee, I have to agree with tm here. I have stood in front of our store, which is glass for its entire length, asking people to move away from the store, and over to the other side of the car park. You have to repeatedly ask just to stop them standing RIGHT NEXT to the fire exits. If people can't work out that a fire alarm means that there could well be a fire, and therefore some danger, then quite frankly, what are they doing out on their own?

David said...

The new Fire Safety Order (2005) which was brough into force 1st October 2006, now states that it is the owner for the company or most competent person within the business, ie the manager, who takes full responsibily for fire safety and all liability should any injury or worse a fatality occur.

The Fire Safety Order, means that the competent person could have criminal actions taken against them in failure to comply. It is now the respability of the business to take into consideration, Fire Provisions, Staff and Customer Safety, consider the building itself, it is no longer acceptable to sacrafice a building in the event of fire, all necessary precuations to prevent and contain fires must be considered and acted upon. They must also consider The environment and fire fighter safety in the event of a fire.

All businesses now, must perform a risk assessment, however if there is less than 5 emplyees, then a business does not have to document this, but if 5 or more, they do. They must perform regular fire tests, regular staff training including evacuation procedures, they must have dedicated fire marshalls who are trained what to do in the event of fire and who are responsible for training other staff within the business.

The Fire risk assessment will highlight any areas of hazard within a business and will suggest actions to be taken in order to rectify this.

This is now enforced by the fire brigade, and the fire brigade cannot be involved in performing risk assessments as there would be a conflict of interest. They are there to police the act and take necessary actions when businesses fail to comply.

Al said...

Some people would disagree that the manager is the most compentent person in the business.... :)

tm said...

Each store has a Fire Risk Assessment, and the manager has to carry out regular audits. All the staff have Fire Saftey training at least every 6 months.

purse said...

Hi! I've been reading your blog from the beginning..Thank you for your wonderful work! Keep up the good work.

Al said...

TM, I thought it was every three months? Or was I being made to fill in those bloody things twice as often as I needed to?

We always got the full training refresher and then the brief fire safety and Think 21 alternately every 3 months.

TM said...

I thought it used to be every 12 months, then it was increased to every 6 months for Fire Safety, Working Safely at Work and Think 21.

Al said...

Perhaps it was just us that did it every three then.

Anonymous said...

Saves on crematorium costs

Anonymous said...

So you're basically saying that the staff (on minimum wage) should be risking their own lives in order to make sure everyone gets out? Sorry, but in an emergency situation the customer/staff situation ceases to exist. Customer service does not include sacrificing your own life so that a customer can live! How many customers would stay inside to check if all the staff were out?

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