Minimizing fire risks to your business is best accomplished by seeing that all of your employees are trained in fire prevention and response. In keeping them prepared, you’ll not only save property if a fire starts, but may save lives. Here are some of the topics that your fire preparedness training program should cover.
The best way to fight fires is to keep them from happening. Take a walk around your business and prepare a list of potential hazards. These may include improperly stored fuel or flammable chemicals, paper, fabric, or cardboard that’s too close to possible sources of ignition, and frayed electrical cords. Establish designated smoking areas outdoors that are well away from trash bins or other combustibles. Communicate these risks to your employees and encourage them to report any potential hazards going forward.
Keep the right type of fire extinguishers at the right location and be sure they’re clearly visible and regularly charged. Employees must also be taught the right way to use an extinguisher. Have fire evacuation routes clearly marked and insist they not be obstructed by vehicles, trash, equipment, or stacked material. Conduct an occasional fire drill. Establish procedures for notifying first responders, meeting in a safe area outside, and verifying that everyone is present.
Check with your local fire department and have the premises inspected to be sure you’re in compliance with local and OSHA regulations. Depending on the size and nature of your company, you may need things like sprinkler systems, first aid stations, fire alarms, and fire doors to prevent the spread of fire. If necessary, invest in commercial door repair to be sure that any area where there’s a risk of fire can be reliably sealed off to slow or stop the spread of flames.
Try to create among your employees a sense of responsibility and vigilance in preventing and combating fires. Everyone should be responsible for seeing that their area is cleaned, of clutter and debris, and that tools and equipment are properly stored and maintained. Document your policies regarding fire prevention and responses. Offer employees fire safety training and make policies part of the employee handbook and post copies both around the facility and online for reference.
Your local fire department will most likely be glad to provide you with any advice or expert instruction you need. Take advantage of it, and be sure that every employee receives hands-on training so they’ll know exactly what to do if fire breaks out.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.