Fire safety tips for your business
Remove Clutter That Could Potentially Fuel a Fire
Keep your working areas clear of paper, trash and anything else that could act as kindling for a potential fire. You should make your garbage cans easily accessible, and be sure to empty them regularly. Similarly, you should make a conscious effort to ensure that there are no obstacles blocking access to emergency exits. Overall, you should perform a close inspection of your work spaces with an eye toward removing anything that could create sparks or fuel a fire.
Pay Special Attention to Extension Cords and Frayed Wiring
Extension cords are a common fire hazard because they're not intended for permanent use. The extension must be properly rated for the intended use, or it can cause frayed and exposed wires, thereby creating a fire hazard. Many local fire codes require extension cords to have surge protectors in case electrical circuits get overloaded. These surge protectors will automatically shut the power off if the electricity shorts out. To be on the safe side, you should always try to plug items directly into wall outlets, rather than relying on extension cords. And if you do have to use extension cords, you should inspect your wiring at least once a month to identify and fix any frayed wiring.
Escape Routes and Meeting Places: Determine and mark the fastest and safest paths to safety. Post maps (with “you are here” marks) in break rooms and near exits — which should be clearly indicated with signs. Put up reminders that elevators cannot be used during most emergencies. Check emergency lighting in stairwells and make sure they aren’t used as storage areas. Create a procedure for evacuating employees and patrons with special needs, especially if the escape route includes stairs. Select a meeting place far enough away from the building to allow full access to the property by firefighters and other emergency personnel.
Emergency Procedures: Make sure employees know that the safety officer is in charge during emergencies. Identify by name and title (whenever possible) the people responsible for contacting the fire department, accounting for employees at the meeting place and assisting emergency personnel with information on equipment or chemicals housed in the building. Keep an up-to-date list of emergency contact information. Outline who notifies the next of kin of injured parties, and designate one person to notify emergency responder of people still in the office or unaccounted for.
Most “business and mercantile” fires occurred when the premises were less populated. One-third of the fires (31 percent) occurred between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am, but created two-thirds (67 percent) of the direct property damage. Nineteen percent occurred on weekends and created 31 percent of the damage. A lot of fires also broke out between noon and 2:00 pm.
Twenty-nine percent of commercial blazes were caused by cooking equipment and resulted in 6 percent of the direct property damage; 22 percent began in the kitchen or cooking area, causing just one percent of direct damage.
If you do experience a fire call SERVPRO of Bowling Green and West Lucas County, we can help get you back up and running.