PUBS, restaurants and other small businesses are being reminded about fire safety ahead of re-opening as lockdown eases via a presentation by emergency services.

Fire and rescue services across the North-East are coming together for a virtual presentation, hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses, on how to stay safe while adhering to Covid-19 guidance.

Figures show that 86 per cent of businesses that have a fire never recover and go out of business.

Business owners have a legal responsibility to secure escape routes, unblocked exits, identifying hazards and training staff what to do in the event of an emergency.

Covid-19 restrictions have seen one-way systems and social distancing introduced, which may impact existing fire safety and will be one of several topics covered in the session, encouraging businesses to ensure escape routes are not blocked and inform staff of new procedures.

Cleveland Fire Brigade, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Darlington and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Services are all taking part.

Joe Flounders, head of protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade said: “This is an opportunity to remind employers of the importance of keeping their staff and customers safe from fire as more organisations re-open their doors to our communities.

"The short time you invest in carrying out a fire risk assessment and making improvements could save the lives of your employees, customers or family members and keep your business open.”

Chris Hockaday, Fire Safety Manager, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are delighted to link up with our friends from the regional fire services to get across important fire safety information to small businesses during these unprecedented times.

"We are here to offer advice to help with your return to the new normal.”

To get involved in the zoom session, at 1pm on Thursday, July 2, visit Cleveland Fire Service's website or register here.