Essential Fire Safety Tips for Your Office
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, you need to help refine the safety measures of your office. (This actually goes double if you’re an employer. It’s your legal responsibility!) With so many people in the same room, the risks and stakes are higher. A fire breaking out at work is one of our biggest fears. It’s important to prevent this happening, but it’s also important that everyone knows what to do if it does.
According to the NFPA, electrical distribution is one of the leading causes of office fires. Your office is likely filled with electrical equipment. There’s computers, monitors, printers and scanners, to name a few. With all this electricity pulsing around the office you need to ensure it’s being handled correctly.
Inspect your equipment and power outlets. If your equipment is in poor condition, do not use it. One of the most common problems in offices is damaged cords. Even with equipment that seems pristine, you need to take care with where you’re plugging it all into. With so many computers you run the risk of overloading your power outlets. Make sure you have power outlets and adapters capable of heavy and frequent use. When everyone is done in the office, make sure everyone turns their equipment off. Don’t be tempted to leave your computer on for quicker activation in the morning!
Be strategic about where you put appliances that give off heat. There are a lot of combustibles in your office (unless your office has gone paperless!). Try to keep really hot equipment away from paper. Make sure there’s a way for heat to escape every now and again. Try opening some windows! Do anything you can to prevent a fire happening in the first place.
The right equipment
Make sure your office is armed with the necessary fire safety equipment. The standard ones are still the best. These include the fire extinguisher, fire sprinklers and smoke alarms. These things, especially the last two, should really have been included in the building when you rented the office.
Make sure the fire extinguishers are in clearly marked spots so people know where to get them if need be. You should also consider having fire blankets on site. As for the sprinklers, this can be a sensitive issue for employers. There’s the worry of sprinklers going off when they’re not needed and destroying equipment. But you are in charge of the settings, so you choose the triggers. Speak to a fire sprinkler supplier about your options.
These things can reduce the damage a fire does. But any fire damage must be corrected as soon as possible, no matter how small. They pose dangers to office structure and the air you breathe. Get a fire restoration company to inspect any damage.
Of course, if a fire breaks out, it’s most important to get everyone out safely. An office fire marshal may be able to attempt tackling very small fires with that equipment. But in most cases the focus must be on getting everyone out.
Make sure you have a predetermined exit strategy and exterior meeting place. Ensure everyone memorises it by having occasional fire drills. Employees need to take fire drills safely. It’s not just an opportunity to stand outside and avoid work for a few minutes! Ensure you and the office fire marshals act exactly as they would in a real emergency situation. This will instil the weight of the situation in your employees.