Your company should be following a variety of fire safety tips in order to avoid the potential devastation that these types of disasters can cause. Even if you have insurance to cover your losses, you'll want to do everything in your power to protect the fruits of your hard work.
Prevention is key. In order to evaluate your company's compliance with local fire codes, you may want to check in with your local fire department and ask them to perform an inspection.
Here are some fire safety tips to help your business prevent disaster:
1. Remove Clutter That Could Potentially Fuel a Fire
Keep your working areas clear of paper, trash and anything else that could act as kindling for a potential fire. You should make your garbage cans easily accessible, and be sure to empty them regularly. Similarly, you should make a conscious effort to ensure that there are no obstacles blocking access to emergency exits. Overall, you should perform a close inspection of your workspaces with an eye toward removing anything that could create sparks or fuel a fire.
2. Pay Special Attention to Extension Cords and Frayed Wiring
Extension cords are a common fire hazard because they're not intended for permanent use. The extension must be properly rated for the intended use, or it can cause frayed and exposed wires, thereby creating a fire hazard. Many local fire codes require extension cords to have surge protectors in case electrical circuits get overloaded. These surge protectors will automatically shut the power off if the electricity shorts out. To be on the safe side, you should always try to plug items directly into wall outlets, rather than relying on extension cords. And if you do have to use extension cords, you should inspect your wiring at least once a month to identify and fix any frayed wiring.
3. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are two crucial, potentially life-saving devices. In an effort to promote fire safety, be sure to replace batteries periodically, and test all of your devices regularly to make sure they're functioning properly. Your local fire authority will likely have recommended schedules for this testing, as well as recommended schedules for replacing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You may want to reach out to them for assistance.
4. Make Sure Fire Extinguishers Are in Working Order
There are different kinds of fire extinguishers that are necessary for different types of fires. As the proper extinguisher depends on the type of material that is burning, you may need to use different ones for gas fires, electrical fires, wood fires, etc. As a best practice, you should make sure that you have the proper type of extinguisher for your facilities and you should regularly check that these tools are in proper working order. Finally, you should provide your employees with the necessary training on how to use these extinguishers.
5. Have an Evacuation Plan and Rehearse It
You should always be ready for the unexpected. Make sure that your exit signs are visible and adequately lit by a reliable power source at all times, and conduct regular fire drills so that people inside your business know how to respond in these emergencies. For example, everyone needs to know to use the stairs, not the elevators (if you have them). You should also have a predetermined meeting area for all personnel so that you can conduct a head count to see if someone's missing.
Again, your local fire department may be your best source of information for evaluating your company's compliance with fire codes and general fire safety. However, these five fire safety tips will get you off to a good start, helping you promote safety at your place of business.
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