Merchants urged to take precautions regarding patrons and merchandise during the holidays

by | Nov 26, 2023 | News

From Prince William Fire and Rescue:

The official kick-off of the Christmas Holiday shopping season has begun as individuals are out and about looking to purchase the latest and greatest gifts at bargain prices. Merchants are stocking their warehouses and stores with large quantities of merchandise for an anticipated busy shopping period. Chief Tom LaBelle, of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue System, would like to remind merchants to take the following necessary precautions
in protecting their patrons and merchandise during this holiday season:

Storing Merchandise
• Keep all exits, exit pathways, and exit discharges clear of merchandise and other items.
This includes stock rooms, display floor, and corridors.
• Keep access to all Fire and Life Safety system controls (Sprinkler and Fire Alarm) clear.
• Keep storage levels 18 inches from sprinkler heads.
o If no sprinkler system, keep merchandise 2 feet from ceiling and overhead
support assembly.
• Manage and reduce trash, debris, and combustibles actively throughout events and
store hours. DO NOT allow combustibles to pile up. This may exceed the capacity of
the sprinkler system and increase the risk of fire.

Customer Safety
• Monitor the crowds to maintain the proper occupancy load so that the possibility of
overcrowding is eliminated.
• Ensure the safety and security of patrons lined up for the “big sale.” This means
keeping access and emergency egress open for guests and first responders. DO NOT
BLOCK Fire Lanes and entrances/exits. Have crowd managers on site to help manage
the flow and direct first responders should an incident occur.
• DO NOT BLOCK extinguishers or access to sprinkler system control valves.
• Limit decorations to ensure sprinkler system coverage is not reduced.
• All decorations must be treated with a fire retardant.
• Provide awareness regarding NO PARKING in fire lanes.
• Provide awareness regarding DO NOT BLOCK fire department connections and

To ensure these threats are reduced, the County’s Fire Marshals will conduct spot checks throughout the holiday shopping season to ensure a fire safe community. If you have any questions, please contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at 703-792-6360

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