The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports there are an average of well over 3,000 fires in office properties yearly. They cause death and injury and $ 112 million in property damage. Knowing how to prevent fires at your small business is invaluable.
Fire Prevention Tips for Small Businesses
Knowing how to prevent fires at your small business is invaluable. Here’s a list of 20 tips to help you do that.
Have a Safety Officer
It doesn’t matter whether you have two employees or 50; all small businesses need to have a fire prevention officer. This is the person who will be in charge of putting together escape routes and meeting places for your employees. This is also the person in charge of keeping your fire prevention efforts up to date.
It’s a good idea to make sure that boxes or other materials aren’t stored in stairwells. They can become both a fire and safety hazard. Make sure everyone in your company knows these are off-limits.
Watch Where You Smoke
Employees and managers should only smoke in designated areas that are outside of the building. Wherever possible you should have large ashtrays that don’t easily tip over and never empty the contents into a wastebasket.
Electrical cords with broken connectors or cracked insulation need to be replaced right away. If you need to use extension cords make sure you only use one to an outlet. As well you should avoid what’s call Octopus wiring where clusters of wires and plugs converge on an outlet.
Here are government standards.
Give Appliances Room
You need to leave a space behind coffee machines and computers so that air can circulate and keep them cool. All appliances need to be kept away from combustible materials. Whenever you can, it’s a good idea to unplug appliances at the end of every workday to prevent fires.
Know Arson Risks
This is one of the largest causes of workplace fires. Employees can help to prevent arson by locking doors after work days over. Checking to make sure outside areas are free of combustibles and hallways are unobstructed are some other good tips.
Check the Storeroom
It’s important to make sure you don’t store flammable materials beside the furnace. Even stockpiling flammable or hazardous materials in a storeroom or basement can be dangerous. Your local municipality should have a facility where you can get rid of them.
Maintain Your Machines
All the machines you use in your small business should be maintained properly to avoid any kind of fire. Keeping the machines clean is important and you should even switch them off when they’re not being used.
Get a Good Alarm System
It’s important for small business to have a good alarm system. That way, something that’s smouldering can be caught before it becomes a full-fledged fire. Sprinkler systems are an excellent idea. Check out the kind of compatibility your smart phone has with anything you choose through an app.
Take The Garbage Out
Regular garbage removal is an important part of preventing fires at your small business. You should have a designated routine and a collection point where all your refuse goes. Staff training is important here so everyone is on the same page.
Keep Fire Extinguishers Updated
Fire extinguishers need to be kept in places where they are accessible and visible. They also need to be fully charged and annually inspected by qualified people. If you haven’t already done so, set up a visual inspection once a month.
Keep Doors Closed
Another good way to prevent fires at your small business is to keep doors closed when you’re not using them. Don’t dismantle automatic door closers or prop open fire doors.
Check the Sprinkler System
Establishing a routine to check your sprinkler heads is necessary. Make sure they haven’t been painted over or damaged in any way. There should be a clearance of a minimum of 18 inches below them so they can work properly.
Inspect the Laundry Rooms
You need to clean out the lint trap on any dryers you have at your business on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to take a few minutes to look behind the dryers to make sure nothing has fallen behind them.
Service Cooking Fire Suppression Systems
If your small business is a restaurant, you need to have any cooking fire suppression systems inspected on a regular basis. Twice a year by qualified personnel from your local fire department is the norm here.
Clear Out Those Mechanical Rooms
Make it clear to everyone that works for you mechanical and storage rooms are two different places. If you’re storing anything in a mechanical room now, remove it and make sure the doors are locked when no one is working inside.
Maintain Your Standpipe Systems
These are a series of pipes that connect a water supply to your building. A flush test should be performed once every five years to make sure they are unobstructed.
Test Smoke Alarms
All the smoke alarms at your small business need to be replaced once every 10 years. You should check them at least once a month and replace the batteries annually.
Stay on Top of Fire Code Changes
Chances are your local municipality has updated information on how to keep your business safe from a fire. Staying on top of the fire code changes in your area will give you good cutting-edge information.
Have Good Spill Control Procedures
Cleaning up a hazardous waste spill in a timely and effective manner can prevent a fire. You can get government information here that can tell you best practices including what kind of protective equipment is necessary.
Photo via Shutterstock
Fire is really something that you should prepare for. It is best to be prepared by having some prevention measures as well as a plan in case something goes wrong.
I find it helpful when you said that small businesses should have a visual inspection of its fire extinguishers every month to maintain fire safety. In my opinion, they should also know a local supplier of this fire deterrent as early as possible. Doing this will help an owner save their investment and decrease the cost of repairs after a future fire.
I believe still small businesses take smoking very lightly. Firstly, smoking should be allowed only in lunch breaks. Secondly, smoking centers should be far away from offices.
My favorite part of this article is you were able to elaborate on the advantage of having a fire prevention office in the facility because this typeof professional will keep the fire prevention efforts up to date. You’re also right about the importance of inspecting the electrical cords with broken connectors. Well, if I had a grocery store, I would make sure to have a fire alarm system installed in it because this will help protect the employees from any possible fire accidents.