Fire Prevention Tips for your Office
Studies have shown that most business fires occur while the premises are not populated, between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am, causing a large amount of damage. Commercial fires, caused by cooking equipment, are also potentially devastating, but surprisingly, the most damaging ones start in an office environment! Here are some fire prevention tips to help lower the odds your office is affected by fire.
Have A Plan. Designating someone as your “safety officer” is one step you can take that will really help. He or she can take the lead in establishing appropriate escape routes and meeting places, and setting up appropriate emergency procedures, as well. Your employees should be aware that the safety officer is in charge during any emergency and will be the one responsible for contacting emergency personnel, keeping track of employees, and assisting with providing information on equipment and chemicals kept in your office. An up-to-date emergency contact list should always be available at your place of business, and you should designate someone to be in charge of contacting family members or next-of-kin, in case of injury or a missing person.
Have Proper Equipment. There are specific items you will need to have on hand in advance of a fire, such as fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, and these are required through local building codes, so they should be present. Alarms and extinguishers need to be inspected monthly and replaced when necessary. You will also want to have a fully-stocked first aid kit and bottled water on hand, as well as flashlights, just in case.
Hold Regular Drills. Your safety officer should schedule regular drills and training to make sure everyone is well-versed in what to do in case of an emergency, such as an office fire. During these drills, new emergency response information can be shared to keep everyone up to date.
Follow these Preventive Tips to prevent a fire in the first place:
- Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for maximum volt/wattage load for surge protectors, power strips and adapters, and ask your electrician to periodically inspect these items and outlets for potential overload.
- Replace frayed power cords and never run them under rugs or carpeting. Use cord protectors, instead.
- Unplug appliances (coffeemakers, microwaves) and other equipment not in use at the end of the day and over the weekend.
- Replace appliances that feel warm or hot to touch.
- Ask the fire marshal to inspect chemical and equipment storage areas periodically to ensure proper ventilation and stowage.
- Store hazardous materials according to manufacturers’ instructions and OSHA regulations. Clearly mark these items to help emergency personnel identify and stabilize them.
- Don’t prop fire doors open or block exits with furniture or boxes.
- Don’t allow paper and other trash to accumulate outside of garbage or recycling receptacles, and never store this material near hot equipment, electrical outlets or the smoking areas.
- Don’t permit employees to burn candles, scented oils, etc. in their personal work areas.
Our SERVPRO of South and North West Grand Rapids team is here to help you in the event of damage from fire or water. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we are mold prevention and remediation specialists, too!