How to Prevent Fire Emergencies at the Office: A Guide

fire extinguisher in hall

It’s important to keep your workplace safe for your employees. This is an obvious truth, but just in case you aren’t convinced: It’s also part of the law. All employers must provide a reasonably safe environment for their employees or they could face legal action.

Fire emergencies are a big threat to a workplace as danger can spring up within a few minutes. It’s essential that you as an employer take all the necessary steps to prevent a fire from occurring in the office.

What would those steps be? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

Identify Fire Risks in the Workplace

When it comes to fire safety in the workplace, prevention is really the name of the game. It is essential that you take the time to identify risks in the workplace and neutralize them prior to a fire actually occurring.

What are some of the most common causes of a fire that you should be concerned about? Electrical wiring and overloaded power strips, for one.

It’s easy for an electrical charge to spark and cause a fire to occur. It’s important to ensure the electrical wiring of your workplace is safe and well kept. Lighten the load on certain circuits if you are worried that a fire could result.

In addition, you should keep a special eye on cooking appliances, heaters, and any items in the kitchen area that produces heat. It’s easy for these types of items, if left on and alone, to start a fire unexpectedly.

Take a look through your office and identify all potential fire hazards. Once you’ve listed them off, take proper action. Take steps to minimize risk, educate employees on proper use, or remove the items altogether in favor of a less risky alternative.

Most office fires do indeed end up starting in the kitchen or green room area. Make sure you double or triple check this area and catch all potential problems.

Keep Up With Industry Standards

Depending on what kind of industry you work in, you’ll have various standards and needs. The more dangerous or risk-inherent the kind of work you do is, the more standards are likely in place to protect your business and employees.

For example, certain food processing plants require specialized types of fire extinguishers that contain carbon dioxide. This type of extinguisher would likely not be a requirement in other types of workplace environments.

The most important thing you can do for your business is to do your research. Read up on the industry safety standards as they pertain to your business and fire safety. Are there certain procedures you should have in place? Certain equipment you need to buy and have on location?

These standards are in place to protect you and all those that come into contact with your business. Failure to keep up and follow them could result in serious damage to your company in the long run.

Educate Your Employees

There are likely specific fire safety guidelines for your business. There are also general fire safety guidelines laid out by government departments such as the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

It’s important to go over these guidelines with your employees so that they are educated and knowledgable about how to best prevent and deal with a fire in the workplace.

What kind of education do your employees need? You should be able to articulate and inform of them of all potential fire hazards inherent in your business. They should be able to properly use, move, and store any and all hazardous materials or equipment.

You should walk your employees through the protocol of what they should do if a fire does occur. No one should be unaware of the evacuation plan if there is an emergency. They should know the fire safe exits and where fire protection equipment is located on the premises. They should be instructed on how to use this equipment properly.

If you don’t feel you can do this on your own, you might need to bring in a competent fire safety practitioner to do the job for you.

Appointing a Fire Warden

The idea of a workplace fire warden is probably most lodged into the public consciousness thanks to an infamous sequence from the sitcom The Office. However ludicrous the show is, it is correct in insisting that an employee should be given the responsibility of fire warden.

Who will take on that responsibility in your office is up to you. Some logical candidates would include the office manager or human resources manager, as the responsibilities of fire warden overlap in many ways with the tasks these positions perform.

The appointed fire warden should assist and oversee the creation of emergency fire procedures in the office. They should be the one to lead a walk-through of the premises and identify all the major risks and hazards.

It will also be their duty to plan and execute fire drills when needed (this is where The Office leans into the comedy of their scenario).

It’s essential, unlike on that television program, to appoint an individual who has the leadership and responsibility to take on the serious nature of this role.

Preparing for Fire Emergencies

You have a duty of care to your employees. Part of this duty is to ensure you are prepared for the potential of fire emergencies in the workplace. The above information can help you to take all the needed precautions for this kind of trouble.

Need more information on how to prepare for disasters? Keep scrolling our blog for more information.