Fires destroy many homes and businesses all over the nation every year. Fires in hotels and motels kill 15 people and hurt another 150 every year. Fires also hurt thousands of American businesses each year. These hurt the trust customers and clients have in those businesses. They cause damage to buildings that cost a lot to repair. They also cause injuries to the people who work in these businesses, customers, and clients. While most business owners admit that they think a plan to prevent fires from occurring or to deal with them when they do occur is important, only about 20% have an actual plan. Experts at fire protection services companies cite the following tips:
- Develop a plan to evacuate your space if there is a fire. This is one of the most important things you can do to keep your staff, clients, and customers safe. People are calmer when they know what to do if there is an emergency. Work out a plan to get everyone out of your business should a fire break out. If you work already with a fire protection company, they can help you craft a plan. You need your people to know how to get out of the building, how to help customers and clients get out, and where everyone should meet up. If after you devise your plan, you practice it, your team will be better prepared to deal with a fire emergency if one should arise.
- Develop a plan to prevent fire. Fire protection companies also recommend having a plan of action to prevent fires from occurring at your business. It has been said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That could not be truer than when it comes to fire prevention in the workplace. You need to identify problem areas, such as materials that can easily catch on fire, any heat producing tools, and equipment, or any other fire hazards. You should make your plan available to all the people who work for you so they can learn it and stay familiar with your fire prevention policies.
- Train your team. Plans do not work if no one understands them. There are requirements set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They require workers to have the right training on how to use fire extinguishers, for example. They require this training to be conducted at least once every 12 months. As regulations change, the workers need to receive updates training sessions.
- Make sure your exit and emergency light work. After you have your exit and emergency lights installed, you need to keep them operating correctly. Fire protection services experts like to remind business owners that these pieces of equipment are useless if the bulbs are allowed to go out. These also need to be connected to backup power so that people can rely on them to find their way out of a building in the event of a fire.
- Be diligent about your housekeeping. The clutter of all kinds can lead to a fire. it is important to keep packing materials and other paper waste in a covered container. Air filters need to be checked and changed as often as needed. Clogged air filters pose a fire hazard to both homes and businesses. If there are flammable substances and materials used in your business, they need to be stored and used properly. Fire exits need to be kept clear of furniture, trash, and other debris.
- Assign team members to be the go-to people if you have a fire. Many people who work at fire protection services companies recommend assigning fire response duties to certain staff members. These individuals need to be trained on the fire suppression equipment and tools that you will need to be used should a fire emergency arise. By assigning these tasks to certain people, you know someone will be accountable to take care of these tasks.
Fire protection services experts recommend all businesses have plans to prevent and deal with fires to prevent injuries and costly damage to buildings. These tips can help businesses stay safe from fires.