Fire emergencies can strike anyone, at any given time. Any fire, regardless of magnitude, can have a sizable impact on your business. The key to eliminating fires from igniting is to have a solid fire prevention plan in place. Although it is impossible to completely alleviate fire hazards, utilizing safety measures can minimize the damage caused by fires.
Emergency exits should be well lit with regulation signs. Emergency exit diagrams of the building should be posted around the office as well. Every workplace must have enough exits suitably located to enable everyone to depart from the facility quickly.
In addition, all walkways and corridors should be kept clean to ensure uninhibited emergency egress. Always use the stairs instead of the elevator, and assist coworkers when help is needed. Make sure you know who to call in an emergency, and have your workplace participate in at minimum annual fire drills. Sprinkler systems and fire alarms should be tested annually, and employees should maintain an updated list of emergency contact phone numbers in case of a fire. Early warnings play a vital role in a facility’s ability to safely evacuate its occupants during a fire emergency.
Designated smoking areas need to be assigned if your office or building is not a smoke-free establishment. Smoking materials need to be extinguished safely and properly. Never smoke in chemical storage areas or places where paper products are warehoused. It is also essential to practice tidiness. Clean around your workspace daily. Clutter provides fuel to fires and can block fire exits and emergency equipment. Simple housekeeping practices can make a huge difference when it comes to fire prevention.
Turn off electrical appliances at the end of each day. Keep heaters away from anything combustible. Machines such as computers, copiers, microwaves and coffee pots all produce a great deal of heat, so flammable items must be kept away from them. To prevent the ignition of a fire in potentially explosive atmospheres such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or particles, all safety precautions regarding the flammables must be followed.
If fire is detected, pull the fire alarm station immediately to sound the alarm and alert authorities. It is imperative to maintain the proper type and amount of fire extinguishers required for your establishment. Electrical control panels need to have free access so the panels can be shut off easily, and all electrical hazards should be reported. Numerous fires start from faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment.
Should any equipment give off unusual heat or smell abnormal, do not use it. When in doubt, have equipment checked, repaired, or replaced.
As a building owner, it is essential to have designated persons with knowledge of the fire alarm system. Visual inspections of alarm systems need to be performed frequently by a trained professional in order to ensure that the system is maintained in an operative condition, but extensive testing must be done semiannually or annually by a qualified state licensed inspector. Pineland’s Southeast Fire and Burglar Alarm Company offers state certified fire inspections as a service to any business, even if we did not install the alarm system. Through this service, SEFB gives a thorough examination to every device attached to an alarm system ensuring that the system is and its components are free of physical damage. These certifications ensure that your system is up to code and, most importantly, lives are protected.
Fires in the workplace can become hazardous, quickly. It is imperative that companies make sure employees are as prepared as possible in case a fire occurs. Regular checks on safety equipment, safety drills, as well as daily housekeeping can help insure you are prepared in a fire emergency.