Having a strong system in place for fire safety is integral to any building. It is important to make plans and ensure if a fire should occur, occupants are as safe as possible. Here are some steps you can take to help:
1. Identify Fire Hazards
It’s integral that sources of heat are kept away from anything that could catch fire. Think about sources of ignition – not only naked flames but also electrical equipment that produces heat as a byproduct. Other more obvious ignition sources include matches, cigarettes, and heaters. Also, identify items that have the potential to be fuel (gas, packaging, trash, furniture, paint, wood, paper, plastic foam, etc.)
2. Find out Information about the People in the Building
If a fire happens, everyone is at risk. There may be people who are in more danger than others, such as those who work near dangerous areas, night staff, visitors, and clients who are not familiar with the layout of the building – as well as children, the elderly, and the disabled.
3. Make a Plan Based on the Above
After evaluating any potential hazards and finding out who frequents the building, you can make a plan. Move sources of heat and ignition to safe spaces, and remove any unnecessary fuel. Make a full escape plan based on the perceived dangers, ensuring to take into account if there are vulnerable people in the area. Delegate tasks such as calling the fire department, keeping a record of people in the building, warning people of the fire, and using fire safety equipment.
4. Remember to Record, Plan, and Train
Keep a record of all the information you have compiled, as well as what actions have been taken, and what needs to be done moving forward. You should share your plan with everyone in the building, so you can act quickly to ensure everyone’s safety. Make sure staff are trained in the overall escape plan as well as for their individual roles. Have a dry run to practice and record any issues that arise. You should also have a clear record of any fire safety equipment in the building, detailing when it’s maintained and if it has an expiration date.
Finally, your fire safety system should constantly be under review. This means scheduling fire drills for the future, checking the building, and repeating steps #1-4 on a regular basis.