If you own and operate a small business, the safety of your employees as well as your company building and contents should be of utmost importance. Unexpected events, such as fires, can occur without warning and cause large amounts of damage. While you may not be able to prevent a fire in all cases, you can still develop a fast response team and system for evacuating the building safely. Fire safety tips for small business include a number of different methods you should use for preventing a fire and handling the fire if it has occurred in your building.
Your fire evacuation plan is extremely important as it is going to help ensure all of your employees can exit the building safely and in an orderly fashion. In order to have a safe evacuation if a fire hits your building, you should prepare the plan ahead of time. Determine where the safest exits are in your building, and the best route to get your employees to them safely. If you have a large office, you may have more than one fire exit and should give employees instructions on which exit is closest and safest for them to use. When you have developed an evacuation plan, have your employees practice it several times a year so they are familiar with it. You should always have at least two fire exits just in case one of them is blocked off from the fire or fallen debris. Conduct fire drills on a regular basis so that your employees can practice evacuating safely. It is better to not warn employees before a fire drill so you can see how they react to this unexpected event.
Fire education at your small business is just as important as running fire drills. As the business owner, you and your employees should be aware of where the fire alarms and extinguishers are located and how to use them. Put your employees through a fire extinguisher education course offered by your local fire department, so that each and every employee knows how to use one. You should also put your local fire department’s emergency number on all business telephones and in common areas so that an employee can locate it quickly.
Employees should be educated on the safety procedures during a fire, such as not crawling on the ground through smoke, the dangers of smoke inhalation, how to locate and use fire extinguishers, and checking doors to be sure they’re cold. If a door is hot, a fire is on the other side, and that exit should not be used. Employees should also understand the importance of contacting the fire department immediately as well as know the evacuation plan.
Fire Suppression and Prevention
While not all fires can be prevented, it is possible to prevent extensive damage from the fire by suppressing it quickly after it starts. The first way to do this is by havng fire extinguishers and your building and employees that know how to use them. During fire education, they should have been taught about distinguishing a fire from the base of the fire, rather than the top of it. Be sure all employees are aware of reporting overloaded electrical sockets, and safely containing materials that are flammable. Fire hazards should be part of fire education and in the safety policy of your business. You should also have a sprinkler system in the building that will be set off with the smoke alarm so that the fire can be suppressed quickly. Be sure you have smoke detectors throughout your offices and that they remain in good use, with regular maintenance.
Fire safety tips for small businesses are a crucial part of the safety of your employees and your building contents. Protect your business from catastrophic events such as a fire by obtaining adequate business insurance that will help to cover the costs of damages from the building fire. Educate your employees on how to be safe during a fire, using extinguishers, and other important details about fire suppression.