When a fire breaks out, it's not uncommon for people to panic. Due to the fast-spreading nature of flames and the hazardous effects of smoke, finding an exit quickly is a top priority for building occupants, who, in fear, may scramble to get out. Educating building occupants about fire prevention, safety, and control can help save lives and prevent property destruction. However, that's just one of the many steps you, as a business owner, can take to ensure safety.
A Fire Prevention Plan educates employees or building residents about what to do in the event of a fire, but it also outlines the procedures they will follow to stop fires from occurring in the first place. In the sections ahead, you'll learn the ins and outs of a Fire Prevention Plan and its many benefits to fully understand the importance of implementing one in your workplace.
A Fire Prevention Plan is a document that outlines the details of fire safety protocols in your building or on your property. Fire safety plans should always be specific to your property or business and formulated after completing an audit, paying close attention to the exit and entry points, property layout roadways, and building use. The audit should also examine the water or fire department connections, alarm systems, and sprinkler systems, as well as how certain items (i.e., chemicals and electrical systems) are stored and used in your building.
Each Fire Prevention Plan will vary slightly depending on the unique characteristics of your building or property. Still, in general, your prevention plan should include these emergency procedures to be followed during a fire.
If you want more assistance creating your Fire Protection Plan, ask your local fire department for a safety plan template or checklist. You must review your Fire Prevention Plan annually to ensure you stay on top of all listed duties and revise any changes. Should your business move to a new location, you must tailor your plan to the new building. If you have questions about your fire prevention plans or our business insurance plans, the friendly team at Morison Insurance can assist with those.
Those who have witnessed a fire know how disastrous and heartbreaking it can be. Sometimes, fires spark from preventable situations, while others are out of our control. In any case, some steps can be taken to minimize common fire hazards and prevent costly damages to reduce the risk of injury and property loss, and these should all be outlined in your Fire Prevention Plan. Having such a plan can help you and your team:
You may only know what will lead to a fire if you are educated about the possible fire hazards, flammable materials, and potential ignition sources in your building or your property. For example, extension cords used long-term can start a fire. Improper chemical storage and the failure to have your heating system inspected and maintained can also lead to a fire. Knowing this and ensuring your staff acts accordingly can help remove all significant fire hazards from your building.
Following proper maintenance tasks can prevent fires from occurring. Staying on top of maintenance, such as getting your heating systems inspected and repaired regularly, is essential and should not be put off. The inspection and maintenance of your fire safety equipment should also be completed periodically. The last thing you want in the event of a fire is for your sprinkler system never to activate or your emergency alarm to never sound. Having a professional inspect these devices regularly to ensure they are working correctly can save lives.
Do you know how to react in the event of a fire? Should you try to stop it? Which exits should you use? How do you properly alert officials? Many questions surface when a fire breaks out, and it's essential to know the answers to them all. Because fires can often incite panic, it's essential to have a visible list of instructions your staff can follow to respond to a fire on your property correctly.
Burns aren't the only type of injury that occurs when a fire strikes. Scrambling to find an exit and leave the facilities can result in twisted ankles, broken appendages, and more for your employees. Improper fire extinguishing methods may be taken when survival instincts kick in, such as stamping a fire out or trying to cover it with an article of clothing. While admirable, these efforts may lead to injury. Educating your staff and outlining a clear fire evacuation plan will help reduce panic and prevent injuries. In addition, teaching them how to respond to a fire and put it out correctly can prevent burns to their skin.
Fires can be incredibly destructive. They may destroy part of your facilities, or they may consume the entire building and surrounding area. The best way to prevent this from happening is to stop fires from occurring in the first place. Still, there are also additional steps appointed staff can take to put out fires and minimize property destruction and personal injury. These will all be outlined in your Fire Prevention Plan.
No matter what business you operate, you have assets on your property. If you are a building owner, one of your most significant assets is your building. From office furniture and computers to cash and real estate, if your facility is damaged due to a fire, you will lose some or all of your physical assets--and let's hope your business has stored digital files backed up onto the cloud as well or else all paper records, documents, and deeds will be gone too.
The most significant benefit of implementing a Fire Prevention Plan is protecting your employees. A lesser but still significant benefit is reducing disruption to your daily operations. Whether the fire that broke out was small or large, destroying just one room in your building, an entire floor, or the entire facility, your daily operations will be halted–either for a few hours, a day, a week, or until you can find another place to do business. Depending on the severity of the fire and the nature of your company, a single fire is enough to put you out of business. Putting together a Fire Prevention Plan may help ensure this doesn't happen.
If word gets out that your business did not have a Fire Prevention Plan in place and your building, records, or staff get hurt, you can say goodbye to your good reputation. Putting protection systems and emergency plans in place shows both your employees and your customers that you care about people and their safety. Taking care to remove potential fire hazards, monitor heat-producing equipment, and maintain electrical equipment is a sign your workers and guests will notice.
While reputation shouldn't be a determining factor of whether or not you choose to create detailed maintenance procedures and conduct regular inspections, you should know that neglecting to do so may cost you your business in the end-even if your building does make it through the disaster.
Fire prevention plans may seem like a lot of work, but they are non-negotiable if you care about your employees, property, assets, and reputation. Once you have created your plan, be sure that it's easily accessible for all of your employees, and make sure you appoint someone to follow up with regular maintenance, protection equipment and system testing, and inspection of hazardous materials year-round. It's one thing to create a plan and another to ensure you and your company abide by it.
This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.