If you own or operate a business, you have a duty to take measures to prevent a fire and to minimize damage and danger to people if a fire occurs. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a series of fire safety requirements for commercial buildings. Other measures can also be helpful, even if they aren’t mandated.
Eliminate Fire Hazards
Be sure that all power strips are UL listed, that extension cords are only used when necessary and are not overloaded, and that flammable and combustible materials are properly stored and disposed of. Keep anything flammable away from a heat source.
Install and Maintain a Fire Alarm, Sprinklers, and Fire Extinguishers
If a fire occurs, alerting people in the building so they can evacuate quickly can save lives. Your building should be equipped with a fire alarm that employees and visitors will be able to hear, no matter where they are, if a fire breaks out.
Sprinklers can put out a fire, or at least keep it contained until firefighters arrive. Installing sprinklers throughout your commercial building can minimize damage and save people’s lives.
If a fire breaks out and someone detects it right away, it may be possible for that individual to put it out quickly. Fire extinguishers should be placed strategically around your commercial building in areas where they are readily accessible, and employees should be trained in how to use them.
Of course, a fire alarm, sprinklers, and fire extinguishers will be useless if they don’t work when they’re needed. This is why it’s essential to test your alarm, sprinklers, and fire extinguishers on a regular basis and to have them maintained, repaired, or replaced as necessary.
Make Sure That People Can Exit the Building If There’s a Fire
During an emergency, confusion, panic, and disorientation can cause people to make mistakes, and the results can be tragic. Often, injuries and deaths occur because people don’t know what to do or where to go when a fire breaks out.
Create a fire evacuation plan and share it with your employees. Clearly mark evacuation routes and conduct regular fire drills to be sure that all workers know how to exit the building and where to go if there is a fire.
Exits and stairways should be kept free of obstructions at all times. Exit signs should be illuminated so that people can find them, even if the air is filled with smoke from a fire.
Review Your Company’s Insurance Coverage
While you are thinking about fire safety, it’s a good idea to go over your business insurance policy. Your coverage needs may have changed since the last time you reviewed the policy, or you may be able to get the same coverage at a lower rate by switching to a different company. Petruzelo Insurance can easily compare quotes from several top insurers. Contact us today to learn more.