When you own your own business, you are responsible for all aspects of its operation - from making sure the phones are answered promptly and customers are satisfied to ensuring that the office supplies get ordered and the bills get paid.
Even more importantly, you are responsible for the protection of your employees, customers, visitors and anyone else who comes to your business. Whether you run a retail store in a busy strip mall or a fabrication plant in the suburbs, having a fire suppression and response plan is an essential part of workplace safety. Here are some tips you can use to keep your workplace, and your employees, protected.
- Read and follow the storage instructions for every new chemical you use in your operation. Keep the safety instructions with each package and make sure staff are trained on proper usage.
- Keep fire extinguishers in strategic locations throughout your office space and factory floor. Make sure all members of your staff know how to access and use the fire extinguishers, and make sure all fire extinguishers are charged and inspected on an annual basis.
- Prohibit the use of space heaters and other small appliances that could spark a fire. Monitor your workplace for compliance and remove any unauthorized devices right away.
- Monitor recall sites for problems with power cords, surge protectors and other electrical devices. Replace any suspect devices immediately and return them to the point of purchase.
- Check the space under desks, behind file cabinets and around bookcases for frayed and exposed wires and other potential safety hazards.
- Hold regular fire drills and insist that your employees take them seriously. Make sure all staff members are trained on what to do and where to go in the event of a fire.
- Have a clearly marked evacuation route and post maps throughout your office space or factory. Explain the fire evacuation routes and procedures to every new hire.
- Invest in active fire suppression systems like automatic sprinklers. Have the fire suppression system inspected and verified on a regular basis, in some cases, it may be the law. “When looking to hire an inspector or installer, make sure they have a reputable plumbing supply company to supply the parts” says A. Messe Supply, a plumbing supply in Chicago. “The installer is only as good as the products they are using”.
- Prohibit smoking anywhere on business grounds. A single spark from an unattended cigarette could spark a devastating fire.
Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility, but the response to safety hazards must start with you. As the owner of the business, it is your job to protect the company you have spent so much time, money and effort to build. The tips above can help you protect your investment, keep your workplace safe and possibly avoid a devastating fire.