Basic Fire Safety Tips for Your Business
Fire safety is a critical component of operations at any commercial facility. You must be able to prevent damage to your building, your equipment, and your merchandise while at the same time ensuring that staff and customers are protected from injury or death. Here are some basic fire safety tips that you can use to reduce the chance of fire and fire-related mishaps at your business.
- Devise an evacuation plan: Create an evacuation plan that will be used in your business in case of fire. The evacuation plan should be relatively simple and easy to follow, focusing on the quickest and most direct route for leaving the building. Establish one or more alternate routes in case the main route is blocked. Make sure diagrams of the plan are posted where required and that all employees have been instructed on what to do in case the fire alarm goes off. Include fire safety tips in employee handbooks and conduct periodic fire drills to make sure everyone knows and follows evacuation procedures. Include additional information that will make it easier to get out of the building, such as the number of steps to exits. Emphasize the importance of leaving the building if the fire alarm sounds.
- Install a fire suppression system: A fire suppression system consists of an interconnected network of fire and smoke detectors, alarms, and equipment such as sprinklers that spray water, foam, or chemical suppression materials. Detectors sense temperature changes, smoke, or combustion byproducts in the air and automatically activate alarms and sprinklers. There should also be several switches placed throughout the building for manual activation of the alarms and suppression system. Fire suppression equipment must be installed in accordance with the appropriate local and state fire codes and must be extensive enough to reach all areas of the building. Systems should be regularly inspected to ensure the equipment works properly when needed.
- Reduce and eliminate fire hazards: Conduct a fire safety evaluation of your business to identify areas where fire hazards exist and how they can be either reduced or eliminated. Allow plenty of ventilation for heat-producing equipment, such as computers and electronics. Do not run electrical cords or cables under carpets or rugs where they could overheat or be damaged. Avoid overloading electrical outlets and use properly grounded, insulated, and rated power strips and electrical cords. Remove clutter and accumulations of flammable material, such as paper and cardboard. Store combustible materials, such as gasoline or other fuels, in proper containers and in outdoor areas away from your main building. Keep flammable materials away from fuel storage areas. Ensure the electrical system in your building is code-compliant and that circuit breakers, outlets, switches, and other components work properly. Eliminate smoking on the premises or provide a designated area for smokers. Establish a company policy of reporting fire hazards immediately.
- Ensure accessible exits: Make sure evacuation routes and exits are easily identifiable and clear of blockages or obstructions. Keep exit doors unlocked during times when the building is occupied. Mark evacuation routes with appropriate signage, directional arrows, or with tape on the floor. Install lighted exit signs with battery back-ups that work even if the main power to the building is lost.
- Make sure fire safety equipment and devices are regularly maintained: Establish and follow a schedule of preventive maintenance for fire safety equipment, including fire alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure fire extinguishers are available and are inspected and maintained as required by local and state codes. Put fresh batteries in battery-powered devices at least every year. Test alarms and detectors regularly to make sure they still work.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more fire safety tips and information on maintaining fire safety at your commercial facility, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!