How to Choose a Fire Safety Supplier
Choosing a fire safety supplier isn’t just about getting the cheapest deal. Although your budget will be a determining factor, there’s much more to buying fire safety supplies than cost.
To find a good fire safety supplier, it’s worth spending some time doing a little investigating. But you’ll have to know what you’re looking for.
The most important thing to remember is that your fire safety equipment is meant to save lives and protect your business. Particularly with small businesses, where a fire can have a devastating effect. Don’t underestimate the importance of getting the right supplier for your fire safety equipment.
Is the Supplier Qualified?
The fire equipment you buy must comply with certain safety standards, so don’t be tempted to make a purchase based on cost alone. Make sure that you choose a supplier that complies with the latest health and safety standards. It’s always a good idea to find out if they’ve received their training directly from the product manufacturers and how they train their staff.
If the supplier is a member of relevant fire safety bodies or has received industry accreditation that guarantees their ability and service, then that’s a bonus too. These could be organisations like the British Approval for Fire Equipment
, the British Fire Consortium
or the Fire Extinguishing Trades Association. Even more importantly, make sure that they carry public and product liability insurance.
What you need is a fire safety company that really know their stuff. Ask questions so that you get to know what they’re all about. Find out about the safety history of their products. The firm should be able to find a solution that not only suits your budget, but the one that’s best for your needs too. With a good fire safety supplier, you’ll find the fire supplies you need at a price that suits your budget.
Company History & Safety Record
Firstly, find out if the supplier is well established. You’ll want a company that has been providing safe solutions for businesses over a long period of time. If they can supply you with testimonials to verify what they’re telling you, then it can really help when you make your decision. Ask if you can contact their previous clients directly so you can get the full low-down about their service. If you can, then ask them whether they would use the company again.
Finding out how long they’ve been in business is important for another reason too – you don’t want a company that’s new and could go under, leaving you with fire safety products that cannot be replaced in the future. Check to ensure that the equipment isn’t just tied to a single manufacturer.
As a business, your fire safety practices must be compliant with the Fire Safety Order
and the Disability Discrimination Act
. When you’re looking for a fire safety supplier, if they’re not sure about your legal requirements to make your premises safe, then don’t touch them.
Do they offer the Full Package?
If you haven’t already done a fire safety assessment, the firm you choose should be able to help you do this. When they’ve helped you with your assessment, they’ll then tailor their fire safety package to suit the needs of your specific building. The suggestions that they make should help you minimise the risk of a fire starting in the first place but if it does, they’ll supply you with the tools you’ll need to put it out effectively. Find out if the company will undertake a free survey for you – some firms do.
Remember that the company should put your requirements first and should take time to listen so that they know exactly what it is that you’re looking for. For example, you may be responsible for a listed building, in which case you’ll need a supplier who will come up with fire safety equipment that’s suitable for premises such as these.
It may seem obvious, but find out what kind of products they supply. If you have extra requirements, it’s good to know that the same fire safety firm can deal with it rather than having to find a separate firm to provide some other specialist equipment.
Next, establish what their customer service package is like. Your fire safety equipment should be monitored and maintained so that it’s kept in perfect working order ready for a fire. If you take care of your fire equipment from the start, you’re less likely to have to fork out for an emergency call-out if something goes wrong.
When you need to get in touch with your fire safety supplier, do you think they’ll respond to your query quickly and resolve any issues fast? You should start assessing the company from the first contact you have with them – observe whether they give you 24-hour service, how they respond to you and if they sound competent.
It’s no good if you’ve found a supplier over the internet but the company is based miles away, on the other side of the country. You need a supplier who will be able to respond quickly to your needs. So if you need your supplier in an emergency one you’ll have more peace of mind if you know they’re just around the corner. This will also help to keep the costs down.
Get an Estimate
Fire equipment is a big investment so before you part with any money, get an estimate first to help you make an informed decision. It may be worth getting more than one estimate so that you can pick the one that’s right for you. With any luck, the company will offer free quotes – a good fire safety firm will always go that extra mile for your custom, going above and beyond so that they can offer you the best possible service.
Questions You Should Ask a Fire Safety Supplier
Here are some of the questions you should ask a fire safety supplier before you decide which one to choose:
• What’s your aftercare service like?
• What is your pricing policy and are there any additional charges I should know about?
• What’s your product range?
• Can you help me put together a fire assessment?
• Do you hold any accreditation from recognised industry bodies?
• How long have you been in business?
• Do you offer bespoke services?
• What are your qualifications and how are you trained?
• Do you have testimonials from your previous clients?
If you follow these steps when you’re looking for a fire safety supplier, you should be well on the way to finding a supplier who will provide you with a safe, effective and cost-effective service.
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