No matter what type of business you operate, the best way to ensure the safety of your workers, your customers as well as your equipment, materials and physical structure is through fire prevention and preparation.
Here are some fire safety tips to help you lessen the chances of a fire breaking out in your business as well as what to do in case it does:
- Install a business fire alarm system – a professionally installed and maintained business fire alarm system is the best way to protect your workforce, the public and your company from the threat of fire.
- Train your employees – ensure that your employees know what to do if there’s a fire, including calling 911 immediately. Hold meetings to educate your workers on emergency evacuation plans. Stage a fire drill at least once a year to ensure your workers understand the fire safety protocol of your business.
- Fire extinguisher training – if you equip your place of businesses with an adequate number of fire extinguishers and your employees know how to use them properly, you’ll likely ensure that people will make it out of the building safely. Workers can use fire extinguishers to put out smaller fires blocking escape paths, or they can use them to keep flames under control until everyone can be evacuated safely from a section of the building. However, your employees should not risk their lives fighting a fire, rather they should evacuate as quickly as possible.
- Test sprinkler systems/smoke detectors – you should test your sprinkler system and smoke detectors at least annually.
- Clearly mark emergency exits – you should also keep them clear and unlocked. Ensure that you don’t stack boxes, equipment or other items in front of exit doors. You should keep stairwells clear as well.
- Store trash/chemicals properly – never store paper or other material near hot equipment or electrical outlets. You must also store chemicals and combustibles in approved containers or cabinets. The fire marshal should inspect chemical and equipment storage areas at regular intervals to ensure proper ventilation.
- Switch off electrical appliances – ensure that computers, photocopy machines, and microwaves are switched off properly and unplugged at the end of the day and over the weekend.
As Benjamin Franklin so wisely noted: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Following these tips will go a long way toward helping you prevent fire in your establishment as well as ensure your employees know what to do if there is a fire emergency.