Fires can happen anywhere, whether at home or at work. If a fire does break out at your office, it will likely present extra complications and factors to take into account than if it were at home. Most office buildings, for instance, consist of multiple floors and there are additional responsibilities both employers and employees need to know as part of a safe work environment.
In a workplace, the employer and managers are responsible for both preparing and implementing a fire safety plan. Every main door should have the fire emergency practices and procedures posted somewhere nearby and fire drills are expected to be performed regularly to ensure everyone knows what to do. Employees must learn the fire safety procedures; the locations of emergency exits, fire extinguishers, and fire alarms; how to use those extinguishers and alarms and to contact the fire department.
In Event of Workplace Fire
The exact fire safety plans of a workplace will differ somewhat from location to location. However, there are some safety tips that are generally applicable. For instance, upon spotting a fire, pull the alarm on the floor and leave immediately. Take any keys with you and close doors behind you in order to help impede spreading flames. If you encounter smoke, consider an alternate route; if one is not possible, crawl under the smoke to avoid overexposure. Never assume someone else has called the fire department and always try to call them yourself. Be clear about your name and the address and location of the fire in the building.
Fire extinguishers are a mandatory feature in most workplaces. While useful, they are only suited for putting out small, contained fires like those that might develop in a trash bin or on a stove. However, an extinguisher may be unsuited for putting out grease or electrical fires. Never try and fight a fire if the flames are large or spreading, your escape route may be blocked, and there may be complications if you are unsure/untrained in the use of the extinguisher.
Common causes of workplace fires are smoking, wiring, and appliances. Each has different safety measures that should be taken in order to minimize the chance of occurrence.
Smoking: Only smoke in the permitted areas and use large ashtrays. Never empty an ashtray into a wastebasket. A single smoldering cigarette is enough to spark a fire.
Wiring: Any electrical cords with cracked insulation or broken connectors need to be checked and replaced. Try to keep cords and cables from becoming tangled, as this can fray the interior. Only use Canadian Standards Association (CSA)-approved power bars and do not plug more than one extension cord into the same outlet.
Appliances: Use only CSA-approved appliances. Devices such as heaters, computers, and copy machines also generate high temperatures and should be given space for ample circulation of air. Keep combustible materials away from any appliances, and always turn off or unplug devices at the end of the day. If your workplace features a kitchen, ensure appliances like the stove or oven are cleaned regularly.
Flood Services Canada is a quick response damage restoration company specializing in water and fire damage repair and cleanups. While we offer these tips in the hope that you never need our services, it is important to have a plan in place just in case. Look to our web site for more fire safety tips to use at the workplace.