Fire Safety Tips for Your Business
Business owners have many responsibilities--and one all-important responsibility is spending time planning and creating a fire prevention and evacuation plan. As a business owner, you will find there are plenty of safety factors to take into consideration regarding risks to your business, staff and visitors.
Some Leading Causes of Commercial Structure Fires
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has found that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007-2011 were (in order):
- Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
- Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
- Heating equipment, 11% of fires
- Intentional, 10% of fires
- Smoking materials, 9% of fires
- Exposure, 4% of fires
- Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires.
Of those causes, intentional, exposure and electrical distribution and lighting equipment accounted for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15% respectively.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities in 2007.
In looking at more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that from 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year, which resulted in an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.
Protecting Your Business from Fire
So what are the steps a business owner can take to protect a business from the risk of fires? By focusing on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, a business owner can help reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.
First, a fire hazard risk assessment must be made. In some ares, the local government may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance in creating a fire prevention plan.
It is important to ensure that the right fire protection equipment is in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.
Finally, the most important aspect to consider is the human element, namely your employees. By creating a fire plan and reviewing it with staff, a business owner ensures that everyone knows what to do in the case of a fire. Conduct fire drills at least once a year to keep the fire safety protocol fresh, and take time to review evacuation plans and where the first-aid kits are.
Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County is available to help make it "Like it never even happened."