How Do I Prepare My Company for a Fire?
Reducing the Impact and Harm Caused by a Fire
Fire can be a devastating event for any business, but it's far less catastrophic if you're prepared. Here's a checklist of steps you can take to:
Designate a person to be responsible for fire safety.
It's important to have a designated person in charge of fire safety. This can be a manager or someone else on staff, but they need to oversee making sure that all required safety measures are being followed and that the building is kept up to date with any new regulations that may be put into place.
The responsibilities for this person include:
- Making sure that all employees are aware of their role in keeping the building safe from fire hazards
- Ensuring that all workers know how to properly extinguish small fires using a fire extinguisher, sand, or other non-combustible materials (if possible)
- Inspecting the premises every month for any signs of fire hazards
Conduct a walk-through of your workplace to identify potential fire hazards.
Conduct a walk-through of your workplace to identify potential fire hazards. Identify where a fire could start and consider where it might spread in your workplace. Think about what would be damaged in a fire, and what steps you'd take if there was one.
If you have an office building, think about the following:
- Electrical outlets (especially near flammable materials like paper)
- Heating systems (like furnaces or vents), which can cause fires if they aren't working properly
- Chemical storage areas (such as cleaning supplies or deodorizers)
Train employees on their responsibilities in the event of a fire.
The first step in preparing your company for a fire is to train employees on their responsibilities in the event of a fire. To help you do this, it's important to first understand that it's not enough to simply tell your employees what they should do if there's a fire; they need to know what their role is and how they can successfully carry out that role. This can be hard if you're not sure exactly what the roles are or where employees might look for them! So, we've outlined some basic steps below:
- Train your employees on how to safely evacuate from the building during an emergency.
- Train them on which exit routes (exit doors) lead directly outside, so that in case of an emergency evacuation every employee knows which exit door they should always use.
- Show all your staff members where the nearest fire extinguisher is located, as well as how best time should be used when using one (e.g., don't waste too much time trying one extinguisher when another one might work better).
Develop an evacuation plan and practice it.
Develop an evacuation plan and practice it. Ideally, your company will have a contingency plan in the event of a fire or other disaster. If you don’t have one, develop one now. Your best bet is to keep it simple: get everyone together and discuss how to leave the building safely, where everyone is going after they evacuate (a local restaurant that has wireless internet), who will contact emergency services, who will call your insurance company. The more organized and accessible this information is—the easier it is for employees to reference during a crisis—the better off you are when something happens.
Know what to do in case of a fire with this checklist.
- Know your exit routes.
- Know where your safe location is.
- Know where your fire extinguishers are located.
- Know the location of your fire alarm and how to use it.
- Be familiar with using a fire extinguisher in case one breaks out before you can get out of the building safely.
- Be able to call 911 in case you need help evacuating from the building.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to use these tips. But if you do, it’s important to have a plan in place. You can prepare your company for a fire by designating a person responsible for fire safety, conducting regular walk-throughs of the workplace to identify potential fire hazards, training employees on their responsibilities in an emergency and developing an evacuation plan with practice drills.