Every year, over 3,000 fires occur in office properties, reports the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). You can prevent such incidents in your business when you follow several fire prevention tips. They’re important during October, National Fire Safety Month, and all year.
Know the Laws
Your business must follow local fire safety laws. After you discern the laws, codes and regulations, take the necessary steps to ensure you’re in compliance at all times.
Regularly inspect all the wiring in your building, including electronic and extension cords. Replace frayed wires and cords with cracked insulation or broken connectors. Limit the number of plugs per outlet, too.
Operate Machines and Appliances Properly
The machines and appliances you use may overheat and start a fire if they’re used improperly. In addition to following the recommended operating procedures, ensure air can circulate properly on all sides of your machines and appliances. You may also wish to unplug non-essential items when they’re not in use.
Use Hazardous Materials Carefully
Paint and all flammable, combustible or hazardous materials should be stored, dispensed and cleaned properly. Train all staff to know and carefully follow the usage recommendations for all hazardous materials.
The storeroom, break room, hallways, and stairwells are often hotspots that collect clutter. Clear out unnecessary items from these areas as you reduce fire hazards and improve your escape options.
Maintain Smoke Detectors, Fire Extinguishers and the Sprinkler System
Regularly inspect the tools that can notify you of a fire or put a fire out. These items should be in good working order at all times.
- Change the smoke detectors’ batteries at least twice a year.
- Charge and inspect the extinguishers regularly.
- Ensure the sprinkler heads are not damaged or covered.
Limit Smoking Areas
If you allow your employees, vendors and customers to smoke on your property, designate specific smoker-friendly areas outdoors. Provide sturdy outdoor ashtrays to secure flammable cigarette butts and ashes.
Keeping doors closed can prevent a fire from spreading. Instruct your staff to close the office, storeroom and other doors when possible. Never dismantle doors or prop fire doors open, either.
Refuse can contain combustible materials that prompt or spread a fire. In addition to a dumpster or designated refuse area outside, assign staff members to remove garbage from the building every day.
Hire a Safety Officer
Businesses of all sizes benefit from employing a safety officer. This person oversees the fire prevention plan and makes arrangements for safety, such as marking escape routes, testing fire extinguishers and overseeing emergency drills.
Prevent fires in your place of business when you implement these tips. They’re important during National Fire Safety Month and year-round.