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Fire Safety

Fire Safety in the Workplace

Fire Safety

June 13, 2022 Posted by in Crisis Communications, Mass Notification

Fire safety in the workplace starts with a clear, written, practiced plan crafted well in advance. June marks Summer Safety Month, which makes it the perfect time to evaluate and think about how your business would fare in the event of an unexpected fire event.

Here are some tips to get you thinking about how to prepare:

Fire safety in the workplace: the key is “less is more”

It’s all about being proactive and to think small (literally):

  • Be sure that your office outlets and electrical circuits are not overloaded. If appliances and devices are not being used, unplug them.
  • Throw away/do not use any damaged or frayed electrical outlets and cords. Exposed wires are a possible cause of fires.
  • Does your business work with any flammable materials? If so, make sure they are stored away safely.
  • Keep hallways and all areas free of trash. Dispose of wastebasket and trash can matter often, as filled trash cans be the beginning of a fire hazard.
  • Keep all trash and recyclables away from electrical equipment and devices. The two together could be a lethal combination.

Know your fire risks ahead of time.

According to the National Fire Protection Association:

The major source of office fires include:

  • Cooking equipment
  • Electrical distribution and lighting equipment
  • Heating equipment
  • Smoking materials
  • Exposure (wires, materials)
  • Electronic, office or entertainment equipment

In addition:

  • The peak times of day for most fires in this report was between noon and 2:00 PM.
  • Less than one-third of the fires (31%) occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., but these fires accounted for 67% of the direct property damage.
  • Similarly, 19% of fires occurred on weekends, but these incidents caused 31% of the associated property loss. These findings highlight the need for automatic detection and extinguishing equipment to protect these properties when they aren’t occupied.

What to do: have a fire protection professional walk through your property and look for these dangers. Expect instructions on how to proactively stay a step ahead of any risks.

Pay attention to your fire and emergency exits

Keep all exits clear and easily accessible at all times. Make sure you post signs so that employees know where the exits are and keep these areas well lit.

Check your fire detection system

Your property should have a regular schedule for checking and testing your fire extinguishers and detection systems. Ask your fire protection professional to be sure that the appropriate number of fire extinguishers and on the premises and in working order. Be sure that the extinguishers are not blocked or hard to get to, and they should always be easily visible.

Important: make sure all employees are trained in handling and operating a fire extinguisher. 

Bring your staff on board and get them involved in prevention

Your staff is busy enough as it is, but getting them involved in proactive fire prevention and protection could save lives. Designate staff members who can be leaders and protectors in the event of a fire. Have them internalize all the rules for fire safety and preparedness. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Assign someone as a fire warden. A perfect candidate that would excel in this role would volunteer for it. Otherwise, a person in management could be a good choice; for instance, a property or office manager or a member of your human resources department.
  • Be sure that the fire warden is clear on the more relevant tasks that would be expected: conducting periodic walkthroughs (scheduled in advance), looking out for workplace hazards and keeping a running checklist, raising awareness among the staff, educating employees, planning and conducting fire drills, and making special accommodations for mobility-impaired staff.
  • Note: you may need more than one fire warden if your company is large and located on various floors or properties. 

Let RedFlag help you plan for fire safety in the workplace. Here’s how:

In the event of any emergency — fire or otherwise — be sure to have a high-quality and effective emergency mass notification system like RedFlag. This gives you the opportunity to deliver real-time alerts and important information to your staff. We created our system to be easy-to-use for businesses of all sizes, and you can communicate with any amount of recipients (even if it’s only one person). Your staff will have peace of mind by receiving important information. You get a picture of what is happening in other areas of your business so that you can then make intelligent, data-based decisions.

One of the most vital features of a RedFlag system: multi-channel operation, allowing you to deliver your messages to different devices and platforms with the push of one button. That means your people will get your communication by email, text, voicemail, Microsoft Teams alerts, and even through hardware like strobe lights and sirens. The system helps you in fire emergency events as well as:

  • Severe weather
  • IT network failure
  • Facility closings
  • Maintenance issues
  • Cyber attacks
  • Workplace violence events

Long-lasting benefits:

  • Keep everyone in the loop at all times and on all devices.
  • Solve issues faster — two-way communication lets you know what’s going on, and take action.
  • Save time: it’s so easy. Create one general message in advance and send it to everyone when the time comes. Of course, you can edit and tailor the message if needed, but the majority of the work will already be done.
  • Target groups: not everyone in your company may need to receive emergency messages. You can customize your recipient list in a pinch. You can add additional recipients easily if needed.
  • Collect vital data: RedFlag’s self-registration portal and text-to-join interfaces makes it very easy to manage contact information so that you’ll reach people fast and easy, in the way they choose. You can even upload the information you already have and allow recipients to complete their profiles.
  • Be safe and secure with enterprise-level data security and reliability via the Microsoft Azure cloud.
  • Control access: Assign “permission levels” to balance the need for convenient access while maintaining data security and consistency of messaging. This keeps your system centralized and under your control.

In summing up, RedFlag is designed to give you everything you need in an emergency mass notification system:

  • Buy only the features you need — relevant functions that are important to you and your business.
  • Easy-to-use dashboard  — it’s intuitive and user-friendly, which puts you in the driver’s seat from the moment an emergency happens.
  • Dependable 24/7/365 support — a dedicated staff will help you, especially if you need assistance or have vital questions.
  • Strong security — in an emergency event, keep your data confidential and protected, stored in an airtight, reliable cloud system.
  • Multi-channel capabilities — send one message to everyone who needs to receive it, on any device they’re using.
  • Generate detailed, usable reports and summations — you may need this vital data in the near future, and you can also use it to improve your emergency strategies going forward.

Bottom line

Fire safety in the workplace starts with evaluating your strengths and weaknesses within your business. Create a plan in advance, and practice a drill with your team. Continually evaluate and evolve your fire safety plan with your staff.

Find out more about how RedFlag can help your business when it comes to fire safety in the workplace here

Read our blog post on how to conduct a mock drill with an observation checklist

The National Fire Protection Association lists the leading sources of office fires

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