Fire is something that every business owner needs to be aware of. A fire can damage or destroy your business or cause significant harm to people. Every business owner needs a basic fire protection strategy and this article tells you how fires can be prevented and controlled in the workplace.
Have a strategy in place
Have you really, really thought about what you would do if your business went on fire? If so, that is great, but if the farthest you have gone towards getting a fire protection strategy in place is to plan you quick exit from the building and getting fire insurance, then you might be heading for trouble.
Fires can cause significant cash flow problems for businesses and although business funders like Wongaforbusiness are available to help people with their business finances, these don’t go anywhere near providing the level of assurance that a good, well-planned fire protection strategy will in terms of a sustainable future for your business.
Fire risks faced by business owners
As a business owner there are numerous risks associated with fire, and you may face these every day whether you choose to acknowledge them or not.
Prevention and minimizing damage
A fire can inflict serious damage to property, equipment and people, so part of your strategy should involve prevention, minimizing damage where possible and what to do in the worst case scenario.
If you have computer records or paper records which are important to your business, then you need to think how these will survive if there is a fire. You should consider placing important papers in fireproof cabinets. You should also keep copies and back-ups of important information, somewhere off site. This means that information can be retrieved in the event of it being destroyed by fire.
Test smoke alarms and fire equipment like extinguishers to ensure they are in good working order.
Ensure that you have a written fire plan available for all employees to see. Ensure that existing and new employees familiarize themselves with the fire strategy and that they know what to do in the event of a fire on the business premises.
You should also ensure that fire extinguishers are available as well as fire blankets and other fire prevention equipment.
‘At risk’ people
If there are people who are particularly vulnerable in your business at any given time, then you should give some thought to any help these people may require in the event of a fire emergency. Do you have any disabled employees for examples and if so, do they have a fire exit plan tailored to their needs? Equally, if you have vulnerable clients or customers in your business, then these people will need special attention in the event of a fire.
Reviews of your fire strategy
You should carry out regular reviews of your fire protection strategy. Often the strategy will have to be changed to accommodate changes to your business, for example if a disabled employee joins the workforce or if established staff leave and new staff are not as aware of what should be done in emergencies.