Following proper fire safety guidelines in the workplace is a legal requirement for all businesses operating in the U.S. to ensure the safety of employees and facilities personnel. In 2019 alone, there were 18,700 office and store fires, which resulted in $744 million in property damage.
Nobody expects a fire to happen. But when it does, you should be prepared to react quickly. Here are a few workplace fire safety tips to remember in the case of an emergency.
Tip #1: Prepare and Prevent
The best way to mitigate a fire disaster is to prepare and prevent. According to OSHA, fire extinguishing systems are among the most reliable tools for fighting fires. Having these systems throughout an office is essential because they can identify a fire quickly, alert everyone in the building, and apply an extinguishing agent. You should also have smoke detectors installed throughout the office and test all systems regularly.
As for ways to proactively prevent fire emergencies, maintaining office equipment and electrical items helps mitigate risks. Short circuits and overheating equipment are causes for concerns. If you notice something wrong, contact someone qualified to fix the issue.
Additionally, the largest cause for office fires in the U.S. is cooking equipment. Always have a fire extinguisher on standby, particularly in kitchen areas or break rooms with cooking equipment. And don’t forget to keep these areas clear of clutter.
Tip #2: Have an Evacuation Plan
In the event of a fire emergency, you should have a clear-cut evacuation plan. Offices must have clear fire escape routes posted on every level. Likewise, employers should teach all employees including new hires about exit locations and escape routes. Other fire evacuation safety tips include:
- Never ignoring a fire alarm
- Evacuating the building as quickly as possible
- Avoiding the elevator under all circumstances
- Getting as far away from the building once outside
- Never returning to the building unless allowed by the fire department or building manager
Conducting regular fire drills is essential for training your employees on the best way to react and get to safety during a fire emergency. Additionally, employers should regularly check the condition of ladders, emergency doors, and emergency-specific escape routes to ensure they are safe to use.
Tip #3: Know How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
We have all seen a fire extinguisher before, but most of us have probably never had to use one. When remembering fire extinguisher safety tips, always think of PASS:
- Pull: Pull the pin at the top of the fire extinguisher to break the seal.
- Aim: Aim the extinguisher’s nozzle at the base of a fire (not at the flames themselves).
- Squeeze: Firmly squeeze the handle to disperse the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep: Sweep the fire extinguisher from side to side, keeping aim at the base until the fire is put out.
Make sure employees know the locations of fire extinguishers, and place them in multiple locations throughout the office.
Tip #4: Have a Reliable Security Partner
The best way to protect your business and employees from fires is to have proper detection and prevention systems in place. At Vector Security, we can help businesses find and install the right smoke detectors to help mitigate the risk of a fire emergency. Not to mention, we can quickly identify a fire emergency and immediately contact the fire department with 24/7 professional monitoring.
In the event of a fire emergency, every second counts, which is why it is important for businesses to have a trusted security partner on their side. If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact us today.