This week is National Fire Prevention Week, and for many across the nation, that will mean checking the home smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Fire prevention should extend to the office too. Many of the same hazards that are present in the home are also present in the office. Of the over 5,000 annual office fires across the country, most could have been prevented with a little extra precaution. Proper fire education could help prevent a dangerous situation for you or someone on your staff.
- Protect your company from arson; lock up your office when no one is there. Locking up may seem like common sense, but many office fires are the result of arson in an office that was left unlocked.
- Keep papers away from heat producing equipment like computer monitors.
- Make sure surge protectors are not over crowded with cords, and that extension cords are not plugged into one another.
- Check for frayed cords or other faulty electrical equipment.
- Keep cords from being pinched by office furniture.
- Be extra cautious in the kitchen; make sure small appliances are not only turned off, but unplugged, when not in use. It’s too easy with many people using a toaster oven, to lose track of when it was last turned off.
- Keep emergency exits clear of papers, boxes, and debris.
- Make sure that your office has an emergency plan, and that the staff is familiar with it.
- Familiarize your staff and yourself with the location and proper use of the fire alarms and fire extinguishers in the office.
- Know at least two exit paths from your workspace in case of emergency.
- The alarm needs to be sounded for every fire, even a small one.
- Evacuate the building, closing doors behind you.
- If you encounter smoke, try a different route. If no other route is available, crawl when moving through smoky areas.
- Test doorknobs with the back of your hand as you make your way out of the building, if there is heat, there is fire—find another route.
- Once safely outside, move away from the building to allow firefighters easier access.
- Always wait until the firefighters give you the ok, before entering the building again.
Above all else, never ignore a fire alarm. Much of fire prevention safety is in precautionary measures.