10 Ways To Keep Your Business Safe From Fires
As a business owner or operator, it's important to have the safety of your employees and customers as your top priority. Accidents happen every day, but there are ways that you can prevent some fire accidents from happening or lessen the amount of damage done to your property and the people on it. Here are a few ways that you can keep your business, whether it's a retail space, office, or other commercial building, safe from fires and fire damage.
Keep Walkways and Exits Clear
In the event of an emergency, it's important to have the walkways and exits of your business clear. If a walkway is blocked by equipment or an emergency exit door is locked, it could result in the injury of a customer, client, or employee during a fire. Any emergency exits should be clearly labeled to make sure that in the case of an emergency anyone in your building will be able to make their way to the nearest exit. If there's any reason that an exit may be blocked, such as extra equipment being stored, make sure that it's possible to get around any obstructions with little to no difficulty.
Make Sure You Have Fire Extinguishers Accessible
Having fire suppression equipment easily accessible is a great way to prevent fires from getting out of control in your workplace. Fire extinguishers can be used by anyone and are a great first line for any fire suppression system you're considering implementing. Make sure that all of your employees are properly trained in how to use the specific fire extinguishers that you have in your building because there may be small differences between brands and models.
Perform Regular Maintenance on Technology and Equipment
One of the most common ways that a fire starts is because of issues with electrical equipment. You should make sure to regularly check on any equipment that you have in your business, whether that's heavy machinery or computers. Issues with the equipment can lead to overheating, sparking, or other potentially fire-causing issues. Try to perform maintenance regularly to prevent these types of malfunctions, and if you notice something is off with your equipment make sure to get it checked out as soon as possible.
Create a Designated Smoking Area
Smoking may not be as popular as it once was, but there are still many smokers out there and there may be some in your workplace. Obviously, there are laws that prevent smoking indoors in places of business, but it's important to have a designated smoking area for fire safety purposes. This area should be at least 20 feet away from your building and have adequate ashtrays to ensure that your customers, clients, or employees are able to smoke without the risk of starting a fire.
Make Sure Everyone Knows What to Do in Case of a Fire
Another key to making sure that your business's property, employees, and clientele are safe during a fire is to ensure that your employees know what your fire protection plan is. You should make sure that they know where all of the fire exits are as well as what their role will be in case of a fire emergency. You may have a certain employee that helps evacuate customers or someone designated to do a headcount once everyone is out of the building. These roles can be key to keeping your employees and customers safe, so make sure that everyone knows the plan. Running drills can be helpful for this as well.
Regularly Clean Appliances
If you have a kitchen somewhere on the property of your business, whether it's a breakroom or a restaurant kitchen, it's important to make sure that you're practicing kitchen safety. Appliances are one of the most common causes of kitchen fires, so making sure that fire safety is being observed is extremely important. Obviously, if you're running a restaurant or other food-based business you'll have stricter regulations to ensure that proper fire protection and fire suppression protocols are being followed, but you'll still need to think about fire safety regardless of your industry.
Ensure that appliances like stovetops, ovens, and microwaves are being cleaned regularly to avoid any fires from food scraps left behind. You should also be sure to put out a list of ways to prevent fires in the kitchen area, such as never putting foil in the microwave or always making sure to be attentive when food is in the oven or cooking on the stovetop. These may seem like small rules, but they can make a big difference in preventing a fire from occurring.
Watch For Electrical Hazards
There are many potential electrical hazards that can happen in a workplace. Issues like extension cords with too many things plugged in, frayed wiring, or exposed electrical components can result in an electrical fire starting. These potential hazards are relatively common and can be easy to overlook if you aren't actively seeking them out, so make sure that you're on the lookout for these issues because you never know when not catching one can lead to a fire.
Make Sure Your Fire Sprinkler System is Functional
When a fire occurs, fire sprinklers are an extremely effective method of fire suppression. In fact, when fire sprinklers are used as a fire suppression method, 97% of the time the fire will stay confined to the room or origin. In cases without sprinklers, only 74% of fires stay contained within the room of origin. Having properly functioning sprinklers can mean that your build sustains significantly less damaged and your employees and customers are potentially safer.
Check Your Local Fire Safety Codes
The area that you live in will have specific fire safety codes and standards that you should be sure to meet all of them. For example, the fire suppression system New York NY approves of may need to have modifications made in order to meet the standards in another city or state. Make sure that you're checking all of these guidelines as they are generally the best practices for your area and take into account local issues that may have come up in the past.
Get a Fire Inspection
You want to be sure that your fire protection system is fully functional and able to adequately protect your business in the case of a fire. Getting a professional to assess your business is a good way to ensure that you have everything you need to keep your business safe if you're unsure about the amount of fire suppression equipment you have. Many areas require regular fire inspections anyways, so being preemptive about asking to have your system checked out can be a good way to get ahead of any potential issues.
Fire safety should be your top priority when it comes to keeping your business' employees, customers, and property safe. Although a fire may seem like something that won't happen to your business, there's always a chance that one can occur despite your best preventative efforts. In the case of this kind of emergency, it's key to ensure that you're keeping your fire suppression systems up to date to ensure there is minimal damage from the fire. With these preventative methods and potential fire suppression solutions, you can help keep your business safe from fires.