Fires can happen anywhere…
…even in the workplace, where they can endanger employees, damage premises, and destroy valuable stock and equipment. Many businesses never recover after a fire, so it is vital that fire safety and risk management are taken seriously.
Thankfully, there are a number of safety measures business owners can take to reduce the risk. In this article, we will provide some easy-to-follow fire safety tips to help prevent a fire breaking out, and minimise the damage should one occur.
Carry Out A Fire Risk Assessment
It is a legal requirement to carry out a fire risk assessment, and regularly review and update the assessment, if you are the Responsible Person at a premises. During the risk assessment, the assessor will:
- Identify potential fire hazards
- Identify the people at risk
- Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks
- Record all findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training accordingly
You can carry out the fire risk assessment yourself, should you feel you are competent, otherwise you can use a qualified Fire Risk Assessor. CIA Fire & Security proudly has Accensus Fire Consulting as our preferred supplier for any fire risk assessment requirements.
Ensure You Have The Correct Safety Equipment
Fire safety equipment can be the difference between minor smoke damage and complete destruction. Fire extinguishers and sprinklers can prevent a fire from spreading or getting out of control; whereas smoke alarms, emergency exit signs and emergency lighting, can alert occupants to the threat and help guide them to safety.
It is, therefore, critical that your safety equipment is easily accessible at all times, and all fire escapes are kept clear from obstructions.
Assign Fire Escape Routes
Your fire escape route must be a safe, easy route out of the building to an outdoor assembly point. The route must be clearly signposted, well-lit and kept free from obstruction at all times. Make sure all employees are familiar with the escape route in case of emergency.
Appoint A Fire Warden
Designate one or more members of staff to be a workplace fire warden. They should undergo special training in all aspects of fire safety, and will then be able to take control of your fire safety procedures and assist with evacuations in the event of a fire.
Hold Fire Drills Regularly
These should be practiced at least once a year, preferably more, so all employees know what to do and where to go in case of a fire. Record what aspects went well, and what didn’t, so you can adjust and improve your emergency plan if necessary.
Fire Safety Training For All Staff
Emergencies can be stressful situations, so it’s vital that employees are able to keep calm and know the procedures to follow. Training should include:
- Fire awareness training so employees know how best to avoid fire risk
- How to raise the alarm in the event of a fire
- Where all escape routes and assembly points are located
- Who is the designated fire warden
Keep An Eye On Your Electrics
The vast majority of businesses use electrical items of some description, all of which can pose some level of risk.
- Sockets and other electrical appliances should be regularly checked for signs of overheating, and repaired or replaced if necessary
- Cables and wires should also be checked for damage. Never use an item unless its cabling is in good condition
- Never overload plug sockets or extension leads. These can easily overheat and cause a fire to break out
- Always ensure your electrical equipment is PAT tested by a qualified professional
By being proactive and implementing basic fire prevention measures, it is possible to greatly reduce the risk of fire. Utilising these fundamental safety tips will enable companies to operate securely, keep staff safe, and provide peace of mind.
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