Is Your Office Prepared For A Fire?
As an employer, you have an inherent responsibility to keep your employees safe. This goes far past making sure everyone’s sitting in the correct posture at their desk. You need to be prepared for any kind of freak accident or emergency that could happen in the workplace. As always, building fires are a serious risk which all business owners need to be prepared for. Here are some steps for getting your office fire ready:
The first step you need to take is choosing and training a designated fire warden. Some people think having a fire warden is an unnecessary offshoot of health and safety law. However, having someone with this kind of training and knowledge can make all the difference in the case of an actual fire. For a small startup of 20 employees, you need to have at least one (ideally two) trained fire wardens on site. This should be someone you can trust, who’s in the office for most of every working day, and can remain calm in high pressure situations. There are various government sponsored training courses for fire wardens which you should look into to make sure you appoint fire wardens you can rely on.
The next important step is ensuring you have all the necessary fire safety equipment in place. You need to ensure there are reliable fire alarms fitted throughout the building, and that your designated fire marshal is testing regularly. Fire doors should also be fitted throughout the building to ensure that any fires are prevented from spreading through the building. Of course, these will only really serve their purpose if they’re kept shut most of the time. As you can imagine, it can be pretty hard to get all of your employees into the habit of ensuring your fire doors are always closed. Fortunately, there are many fixtures you can buy which will automatically close your fire doors if and when the fire alarm sounds. Other equipment such as extinguishers, blankets and lighting should also be a part of your fire safety precautions. It’s also important that you have regular inspections, like emergency lighting and exit sign testing.
Finally, get out the calendar and set some dates for fire drills. These may not be ideal when you’re scrambling to meet your targets and grow your business, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Talk to your fire warden and upper management, and write out official guidelines for what to do during a fire drill. Brief the whole office, and make sure everyone has access to the written instructions. You need to make sure all your employees know the fastest evacuation route from their workspaces, and the best alternative in the case that this route is blocked. This can be helped by making evacuation signs and posting them throughout the office floor. Aside from that, all of your employees should be taught how to properly report a fire and operate an extinguisher.