Business Fire Safety

Each year in the United States, over 6,000 fires occur in the workplace. Take steps to insure that your business is a safe one. The following are the leading causes of workplace fires:

Arson
Pay close attention to security measures. Keep doors and windows locked after business hours. Keep areas around the building - especially alleys and loading docks - well lit and clear of combustibles. Pay attention to housekeeping within the building.

Smoking Materials
In areas where smoking is allowed, use large, non-tip ashtrays and make sure everything in them is cold before they are emptied. Be sure that no one leaves smoldering cigarettes on furniture or in a wastebasket.

Wiring & Appliances
Designate an employee to turn off or unplug all appliances - including coffee makers - at the end of each working day. Do not overload outlets and make sure to replace any broken or cracked electrical cords.

Develop a Fire Response Plan
Develop a well thought out plan that takes into consideration the unique features of your building and its occupants. This plan should be in writing and easily available to all employees. The plan should be kept current through periodic updating.

When a Fire Happens
Treat every alarm as though it's a real emergency. If the alarm sounds, or a fire is suspected, call 911 immediately. After calling 911, if it's determined that there is no fire, but rather a malfunction of the equipment or a false alarm, call 911 back and relay this information. Never wait to notify the Fire Department. Any delay will allow a fire to grow and further endanger the building occupants and property. DO NOT silence the alarm until given permission to do so by Fire Department personnel or by the emergency operator. DO NOT reset the alarm until the Fire Department arrives and has investigated the source of the alarm. All fire alarms are to be investigated by the Fire Department.

Emergency 911
Remember your emergency number: 9-1-1. It's important for employees calling 911 to be able to give the following information: nature of the problem, location, address, nearest cross street, any specifics known. The caller should not hang up until told to do so by the emergency operator.

Close Doors When Exiting
By closing doors, the spread of smoke and fire throughout the building will be limited to a smaller area. Doors should be closed by employees as they leave, and by floor wardens assigned to check the floor during an alarm.

Elevators
Never use elevators during a fire emergency.
  • Elevators often fail during a fire, trapping occupants.
  • Elevator shafts may fill with smoke.
  • The elevator has to be available for the use of arriving firefighters.
  • Occupants must exit by way of stairwells only.

Employee Meeting Place
It's important to establish an employee-meeting place so that all employees can be accounted for after a building evacuation. The meeting place needs to be away from the building so the area is clear for arriving Fire Department personnel and occupants are away from any glass or debris that may fall from the building.

If unable to leave the building, create an area of refuge.
  • Seal the room. Use wet cloth to stuff around cracks in doors and seal up vents to protect against smoke
  • Do not break windows. Flames and smoke can come back in from the outside. If air is needed, open the window a crack.
  • Stay low under smoke. The freshest air is near the floor. Keep a wet cloth over your nose and mouth, breath only through the nose.
  • Signal for help. Use the telephone or hang something in the window.

Fire Extinguishers
Fire Code requirements specify the size, number, and location of fire extinguishers within each facility. These requirements help establish a protection level appropriate for the hazard class of a building. Make sure to know the types, sizes, and maintenance requirements of extinguishers, as well as the basics of extinguisher operation.