If you’re a fledgling business owner or are in the early stages of setting up premises for a new venture, one aspect you are likely not thinking about a lot is fire safety. Starting a new business requires a hefty amount of thought and planning, but most of that will be focused on acquiring customers, financial planning, marketing strategies, overheads, and so on.
Once you’re up and running, ensuring that the bricks and mortar of your small business are physically and financially protected from fire is essential. Below are five safety measures to implement as a small business.
Identify Fire Hazards
The importance of a fire risk assessment cannot be underestimated. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are roughly 37,000 fires on manufacturing and industrial properties every year in the US, resulting in nearly $1 billion in damages. The first place to start when conducting a risk assessment is to evaluate any fire hazards around the facility, such as electrical hazards or combustible and flammable materials. It is also a good idea to review all areas of the office and consider how fires may start because of surrounding materials.
Identify People at Risk
Once you’ve identified potentially hazardous areas or materials, you will also need to evaluate any people who are more at risk during a fire. For example, do you employ anyone who may be visually or physically impaired? Or do you have people whose roles put them at additional risk to fire than others? Identifying these people means you’re able to put secure plans in place should a fire strike.
Invest in Fire Protection Services and Products
It goes without saying that installing the necessary fire protection products around the office is a necessity. Items such as fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, alarms, emergency lighting, and the like will all need to be evaluated and installed. If you are unsure about how to go about this, try consulting experts at a fire protection services company like APFE.
Plan and Practice a Fire Exit Strategy
Every business or office should have a sound fire exit strategy and this should be practiced regularly. All employees need to be aware of the main exit points and what is expected in the event of an alarm. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require all companies to have evacuation maps and visual communication so that staff can quickly refer to guidance if needed. Facilities are also required to have two exit points and paths that are clearly identified.
Train Staff in Fire Awareness and Safety
Creating a fire safety plan for your business is not enough. You will need to train your employees so that they clearly understand the risks of a fire, how they can prevent fires, and what they need to do during an emergency. As fire safety training is a legal requirement, there are various fire safety eLearning modules that your staff can complete online at any time.
The risk of fires is a very real and serious matter to consider when setting up and running a business. To ensure that you and your staff are safe, refer to the above tips and take the necessary precautions. Otherwise, the danger to life and financial consequences for your business could be huge.