Fire Prevention Tips for Your Workplace
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 72% of all structure fires occurred in home structures in 2017. While home fires are the most common, fire in commercial structures are still prevalent. In 2017, there were 120,000 non-residential structure fires with 18,000 occurring in stores and offices. With this many fires occurring in workplaces, it’s important to take some steps to keep your business safe. Below we cover some of the top things you can do to keep your office and your staff safe from fire.
#1 Keep Electrical Power Panels Accessible
In the event of a fire, you may need to cut the power to prevent further damage and risk of an electrical shock especially if it is an electrical fire. Does your staff know where the power control panel is? Is it easy to reach or is it hidden behind boxes in a storage closet? If it isn’t easy to reach, move boxes and obstructions out of the way so it can be quickly accessed.
#2 Keep Exits and Stairways Clear
Stairways seem like the perfect place to store mop buckets, equipment, and boxes that you don’t need anytime soon. Stairways also happen to be the worst place to store anything. In the event of a fire, your staff needs to be able to freely and quickly exit out of your building through the use of stairways, exit doors, and exit pathways. If boxes are blocking them or they trip over a mop bucket, this could spell disaster. Keep these areas clear and make sure your staff does the same.
#3 Keep the Office Clutter-Free
In the previous tip, we talked about the clutter in the exits and stairways, but clutter anywhere in an office can be a bad thing. If a fire should start in your office, it needs fuel to grow. One of the most common materials in an office, paper, is the perfect fuel. Try keeping your desks and storage rooms clear of non-essential documents. If you do have papers that you need to keep, store them in metal desk drawers or file cabinets as these will help reduce the risk of them fueling a fire. Paper file boxes stacked to the ceiling in an office closet or storage room is the perfect fuel that can turn a small fire into a major disaster in an office.
#4 Proper Disposal of Oily Rags and Materials
This fire risk is more common in industrial and mechanical businesses where the staff is using rags to wipe away oil and residue from machines and themselves. If you are working around flammable chemicals and oils and using rags to wipe off the residues, make sure that you have proper metal containers to collect the rags and dispose of them in a safe manner on a regular basis. It’s also important to have a fire extinguisher nearby in case a fire occurs in the waste receptacle.
#5 Keep All Electrical Equipment Maintained and Clean
Have you ever taken a look at the back of your television or computer and have seen all the dust? That dust can easily combust if the television or computer overheats. Dust doesn’t just occur in your home, it occurs in your office too. That is why it’s important to regularly clean and remove any excess dust on your computers, monitors, machines, appliances, and other electrical equipment. In some businesses where there is excessive dust, you may have to clean the electrical equipment more often. You can help reduce the dust by having your air ducts cleaned and changing out the air filters on a more regular basis.
#6 Keep the Mechanical Rooms Clear
If your office has a mechanical room where the HVAC system, furnace, generator, sprinkler valves, fire pumps, and/or other building mechanical systems are located, do not use it as a storage room. The mechanical room should be clean and clear of any debris or items that are not part of the mechanical systems. These systems do have a high risk of overheating and sparking a fire. Don’t help by storing paper boxes and garbage or flammable chemicals in the mechanical room.
If You Should Suffer a Fire, Contact the Professionals
The above tips are just a few of many that you should follow and be aware of to reduce the risk of a fire happening in your office. Even if a fire should occur, following these tips can help to reduce the overall damage that could occur by limiting fire hazards. You can’t prevent fires from occurring completely but you can make the risk much lower. If you should suffer from a fire at your office, store, shop, or other commercial space; give the fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Fairfield County a call. You can also contact us for any water or mold damage also. We have the knowledge and equipment to handle any size disaster. We're available any time and any day when fire, water and storm disasters strike.