According to the Insurance Information Institute, every year there are over 18,000 fires in offices and businesses across the US, which cost businesses over $763 million.
One-third of fires happen at night or on the weekend when there aren’t a lot of employees or people around. Not surprisingly, these fires also cause the most damage as no one is around to put them out or call the fire department.
If you don’t have adequate fire prevention tools or training, your entire business could be wiped out. Just like you would protect your home, you should do the same with your business.
Keep reading for 4 fire prevention strategies to keep your business and your employees safe.
Most commercial buildings will require you to have working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and sprinklers. Make sure to test your equipment as recommended by the manufacturer.
Beyond these obvious fire detection and prevention devices, you might also consider providing emergency equipment like a stocked first aid kit, flashlights, or even safety masks in the event your employees get trapped inside during a fire.
Whether you have 3 employees or 300, you should designate someone as the safety officer. This individual should lead a team to create an emergency response plan and ensure that everyone is familiar with it.
You should plan escape routes and meeting places for your employees. Fire evacuation routes should be posted where employees can see them and put up reminders that elevators should not be used during a fire.
Make sure your employees know that the safety officer is in charge during any sort of emergency or evacuation.
The safety officer is responsible for accounting for all employees who were in the building, notifying family members if an employee is injured, and notifying emergency responders if there are employees trapped inside.
Fire drills aren’t just for school kids!
Organize a fire drill every few months or once a quarter to make sure everyone knows where to go and what to do.
If managers and business leaders don’t take it seriously, don’t expect employees to as well.
There are some basic ways to reduce the risk of fire in your business.
Make sure you follow the manufacturers’ recommendation on light bulb wattage, power strips and surge protectors for computers, printers, copiers, and other office equipment, and replace frayed or damaged cords.
Electrical equipment not in use at night or over the weekend, like computers, coffee makers, or microwaves should be unplugged.
Any chemicals or cleaning products should be properly stored and clearly marked in the event emergency responders need to stabilize them.
Ensure that fire doors and exits are not blocked and people are able to access them safely. If you allow employees to smoke, make sure they have appropriate receptacles for cigarette butts that won’t endanger the building.
Sometimes you take every protective measure possible and still experience a fire. Fire prevention isn’t perfect, but it can go a long way in reducing the risks to your business.
If your business doesn’t have a plan, appropriate equipment, or a safety officer, don’t delay another day in getting those plans and equipment in place.