Fire is not just one of the most common causes of property damage; it is also one of the most expensive incidents a business can suffer from. Studies show that about 10% of small businesses are affected by a fire every year, with damage exceeding $35,000 in many cases.
Although improved building regulations and modern fire prevention practices have reduced the risk of a fire outbreak, it is still a major risk for small businesses, especially those in the production and manufacturing industry.
To prevent fire outbreak in the workplace and protect your business from the financial loss that accompanies a fire outbreak, it is vital that you regularly educate your employees on modern fire safety trends and emergency protocols. You should also make a determined effort to keep your work equipment in good shape and your workplace free from clutter.
The following fire prevention tips will also be effective in keeping your business safe from fire outbreaks.
- Install and maintain fire extinguishers
Every business irrespective of its operations of scale should have fire extinguishers installed at various points throughout the premises. This is not only in line with the letter of the law when it comes to building regulations and fire safety, but it is also common sense.
When you have fire extinguishers are various points in the workplace, it is easy to isolate and manage fire outbreak before it spreads to other parts of the establishment.
But it is not enough to install fire extinguishers. This equipment also has to be properly and regularly maintained in line with the relevant fire codes. You should also engage an expert to train your employees properly on how to use them. Even though most people have fire extinguishers in their homes and cars, you may be surprised to know that most of them have never operated one before. Therefore the basic training in handling and using a fire extinguisher may just save your business in the event of a fire emergency.
- Consider fire alarm and sprinkler system
While having fire extinguishers all over your workplace is a good thing, you can also go a step further by installing a fire alarm and sprinkler system. In fact, this could be a compulsory feature based on the city where your business is located as some localities require these systems in commercial buildings.
A fire alarm will alert everyone in the premises when there is the threat of fire, so that not only will lives be saved, but your workers will also have a few minutes to move valuable files to a safe place. A sprinkler system will also help put out the fire before the arrival of the local fire department.
Some of the fire alarm systems also double as a security system, meaning that your fire alarm can also serve as a deterrent to burglars when nobody is around.
- Maintain all equipment
Faulty electrical equipment is the most common causes of fire accidents in commercial buildings. Careless use of inflammable chemicals can also result in a fire emergency. Therefore to prevent fire emergencies in your place of business, make sure that all equipment pieces are properly maintained and in good working order.
In fact, you should definitely have a fixed maintenance schedule when someone comes around to check and confirm that all your electrical equipment and systems are in good order. The maintenance professionals will give you a certificate to show that every aspect of your business is in line with the relevant fire safety codes, and also make recommendations for when there is a need for repairs or replacements.
Additionally, you should teach your workers to always switch off any equipment not in use. Not only will this help you conserve and save on energy bills, but it will also significantly reduce the risk of a fire accident.
- Invest in commercial property insurance
While it is true that property and fire insurance will not prevent a fire from breaking out, it will significantly reduce the financial loss your business will suffer in the event of a fire outbreak.
Not only will your insurance cover provides the necessary funds you need to get your business back on your feet after a fire outbreak, but it will also come in handy as a selling point when pitching your business to potential investors.
A proper and reliable insurance cover such as Talisman casualty rating, will perfectly complement your personal fire safety efforts so that your business is protected and safe, should a fire incident occur. This is, however, determinant on the reliability of your insurance provider, which is why it is important that you do proper research before choosing a company that will carry your business risks.
- Have an exit strategy
Finally, it is crucial that your business has an exit strategy in place that will help minimise the loss in the event of a fire emergency. This means creating an emergency exit route and regularly practising fire drills with members of your staff.
At the same time, you should make sure that the fire exits are easy to reach and access, have the proper signs, and are well lit. There should also be the proper mode of egress during a fire emergency to avoid panic and injury from stampeding workers.