No one expects to suffer a fire at their business but it does happen. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2015 there were 113,500 fires in businesses. These fires killed 80 people, injured another 1,425 and did about $3.1 billion in damage. Despite this, only 35% of all businesses surveyed have a plan for evacuation if there is a fire. There are a lot of things you can do to protect your business. Aside from hiring a fire protection company, you can take the following steps to protect yourself.
- Keep your fire sprinkler system maintained. It is not enough to have a fire sprinkler installation done. You need to have it properly maintained throughout the year. A fire sprinkler system will do you no good if it does not work properly when you need it to. When buildings have operational fire sprinkler systems, there have been no more than two deaths in a fire in those buildings, according to the NFPA.
- Keep access to the fire sprinkler system clear. You need to keep the area around the fire sprinkler system clear. You should also make sure your emergency exits are clear as are any other fire protection or prevention equipment.
- Have fire extinguishers. You need to have several fire extinguishers in your business. They should also be well maintained. Your staff needs to be trained on how to use them properly in the event of a fire at your business.
- Declutter your space to prevent fires. Experts from the fire protection company like to remind people that clutter will not be the cause of a fire but it can make a fire a lot worse. It provides the fire with the fuel that it needs to grow. Maintaining a neat space can limit the damage that is done in the event of a fire.
- Get a metal container for oily rags. If your business has oily rags around, you can be safer from fire if you get a metal container that can be covered to put them in. You will need to take this trash out regularly to keep it from causing you any problems such as with fires. You do not have to work at a fire protection company to see the utility in that.
- Prevent sparks by maintaining your equipment. Friction sparks can cause a lot of problems but can be prevented by the proper maintenance of any equipment that may cause them. In this instance, the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” could not be more appropriate.
- Take care with electrical problems. A large number of fires are causes by faulty wiring. In homes, there are about 26,000 electrical fires every year. They kill 280 people and injure another 1,125, according to the the NFPA. Many fires in businesses are caused by bad wiring. If you note a problem with your power, this is something you need to deal with right away before the problem can lead to something worse.
- Have a meet up plan. If your business has a fire, you need to have a plan for your staff, clients and customers. Designate a space for everyone to meet up. Have a list of emergency contact information posted so everyone has access to it in the event of a fire or some other emergency. Have a plan to check for everyone who is working when a fire breaks out.
- Do not let workers smoke inside. Most businesses do not allow smoking in the building but you need to have a space for people to smoke and you have to enforce your policy. Smoking can lead to fires in your business and that can lead to more problems.
- Keep the area near electrical control panels clear. If you have any equipment or other items in front of your electrical control panels, you will have a harder time reaching them to shut off the power if you should have a fire. If you have employed a fire protection company, they will need access to these electrical panels.
Fire protection and prevention is important for everyone who works for you. If you are located near other businesses, you should work with them to prevent fires from breaking out anywhere.