A fire can be devastating to a business in many ways. It can cause injury or even worse, death, and can also cause extended downtime resulting in a loss of revenue. Even the smallest of fires can result in high property damage costs. No matter how big or small your business is, a fire can be a huge blow to a business’s operations.
That is why it’s important to reduce the risks of fire, and to take steps to reduce the damage if a fire does occur. Below are five ways to protect your business from fire. While these aren’t a comprehensive list, they are a good starting point to prevent and suppress fires in your business.
STEP 1: FIRE PREVENTION
The first step, and one of the best measures to reduce the risk of fire in your business, is to be proactive in preventing a fire from happening in the first place. Cleanup your office space and reduce the clutter by removing extra materials that could provide fuel for a fire. These materials could include stacks of paper, newspapers, dirty rags, and other combustible materials.
It is important to ensure your facility is safe, protected and compliant. All businesses should perform a fire hazard analysis to assess the fire risks in your building.
Don’t allow employees to burn candles or use space heaters. Space heaters that get left on overnight are a common culprit of many office fires. If you do allow space heaters, make sure employees keep them away from anything that may easily ignite, like paper and cloth.
STEP 2: FIRE ALARM
If a fire should happen, a properly installed and working fire alarm system can quickly notify your employees, as well as the authorities.
By notifying individuals and the authorities promptly, a fire alarm can greatly reduce injuries and property damage. It gives employees an early warning when needing to evacuate.
It’s also important to train your employees on how the fire alarm system works and how to manually activate it if ever necessary.
STEP 3: FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Fire extinguishers should be installed in accordance with local and national laws and regulations. Make sure they are properly tagged and inspected to ensure they are in working condition should you or your employees need to use one.
It’s also a good idea to have your employees attend training by a certified professional on how to operate fire equipment. With proper training, your employees will know when it’s appropriate to use a fire extinguisher, and when it’s best to exit the facility.
STEP 4: FIRE SPRINKLER & FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEMS
If a fire can’t be put out safely with a fire extinguisher, a fire sprinkler or fire suppression system is the next line of defense in a buildings fire system (and the only line of defense in uninhabited buildings). If a fire should occur, a fire sprinkler or fire suppression system will begin to put out the fire until the authorities arrive. It’s important to follow all regulations in regards to not only installing sprinkler and suppression systems, but inspecting them also.
For sensitive environments where a wet fire sprinkler system could be damaging, like in a server room, a dry fire suppression system may suffice. It is also important to train your employees on which systems are in place in your business and what to do if one should activate.
STEP 5: ROUTINE SERVICE, INSPECTION & TRAINING
Last but definitely not least, it’s important to ensure your fire and safety systems are serviced and inspected for the safety of your employees. A fire sprinkler system or fire extinguisher is only effective if it is in proper working condition. If you are unsure of local and state regulations, or don’t know if your systems have been properly maintained, contact a professional for an onsite hazard analysis.