How To Make a Fire Safety Plan
Most people have participated in a fire drill at some point, either while in school or the workforce. These drills are essential to a larger plan to keep people safe during a fire.
There are several factors to consider when creating a fire safety plan for your business, including risk reduction measures, equipment maintenance, employee responsivities, and evacuation routes. Here, we outline components of a good safety plan and ways you can implement it.
What Is a Fire Safety Plan?
Fires in the workplace are more common than you might think. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates there were almost 120,000 non-residential fires in 2021. Fires can happen in any business, although certain industries – such as trades and restaurants – are more prone to fires than others. Employers should always take reasonable steps to mitigate fire risks. But they should also have a plan for employees to follow in the event of a workplace fire. All employees should also be familiar with the company’s fire safety plan.
Once you have a plan in place, it’s important to revisit it regularly. Many companies conduct annual, bi-annual, or even quarterly fire drills. Practicing your plan regularly ensures that all employees are well-versed in their responsibilities, including new hires who may have started after the last practice. In addition to regular drills, it’s also imperative to check your business’s smoke detectors and suppression system and ensure they’re in good working order.
Importance of Having a Fire Safety Plan
In 1978 there were almost 8,000 recorded fire-related deaths in the United States. As smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and risk mitigation practices became more common – or even became law – the annual rate of fire-related deaths has steadily fallen. In 2020, the National Safety Council reported 3,500 deaths associated with fires. While the number may still sound high, that’s more than a 50% reduction in fatalities thanks to modern safety equipment and plans. These plans really do work!
Creating and regularly revisiting a fire safety plan for your business protects your employees and customers and can also help protect your property and assets. A safety plan might also be required, depending on your business location and the equipment you have on site. In fact, it may even be a stipulation of some insurance policies.
What Should Be Included in a Fire Safety Plan?
There are several vital components of a good fire safety plan. At a minimum, it should tell your employees what to do and where to go in the event of a fire. It should be as straightforward as possible and practiced or discussed regularly so everyone knows their responsibilities. Here are some more tips on what to include in your plan:
Regular Maintenance of Fire Safety Equipment
Regular maintenance checks are one of the most important parts of any disaster preparedness plan. This should include regular drills and equipment maintenance, such as alarms, smoke detectors, and sprinklers. This equipment saves lives and can also prevent and help contain a fire – but only if it’s in good working order. Be meticulous here!
When it comes to workplace hazards, prevention is the name of the game. In addition to scheduled safety equipment maintenance, you should regularly check any equipment your business uses that might pose a fire hazard. This includes stoves, ovens, deep fryers, heating elements, welding, and electrical equipment. Ensuring these things are working and being used properly can prevent injuries and disasters from happening in the first place.
It’s hard to predict how people will react in a disaster. That’s why it’s so important for employees to practice emergency response drills regularly. In an actual disaster, they’ll be able to fall back on their training. Your emergency plans should clearly outline each employee’s responsibilities, which may range from attempting to extinguish the fire to evacuating the building, depending on your industry.
Location of Meeting Place
In most situations, an employee’s primary responsibility will be to evacuate to a safe, pre-established location. This should be a spot that is well away from the building and is easy to identify, such as a tree on the other side of the parking lot.
The first person at the meeting spot should immediately start taking note of which employees have made it to the meeting point and which ones are still missing. This is very important information for you to give to emergency responders, so they know how many people may need to be rescued.
Once a meeting place is established, it’s a good practice to establish several routes for employees and customers to evacuate. Many businesses only have one or two exits, so the routes may be fairly straightforward.
You should also consider any additional hazards along the evacuation routes, especially anything that is flammable. Routes should also be clear of clutter and obstacles during regular business operations. Lastly, exits should be marked in accordance with local regulations.
An important note: even the best plan won’t help anyone if people don’t know about it. Ensure all employees know their responsibilities during a fire, the evacuation routes, and the meeting location. Conduct regular fire drills so everyone can see the plan in action. Perhaps most importantly, teach your employees how to reduce or eliminate fire hazards in their workspace. The right safety approach early on can prevent disaster down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Most Important Elements of an Effective Fire Safety Plan?
The two most important parts of fire safety are prevention and preparation. Taking steps to prevent fires is always preferred over experiencing a fire, even with the best safety plan. It’s also best to always be prepared, just in case. Disaster can strike at any time.
Why Is It Important To Test a Fire Safety Plan?
It’s always a good idea to test a plan before implementing it. This way, you can work out any kinks and improve as needed. It also helps make sure people are familiar with the plan. You should never wait until an actual emergency to test your plan.
Fire safety plans save lives. It starts with prevention and preparation and ensuring everyone on your team knows what to do in an emergency. Even with the best of plans, accidents still happen. If you do experience a fire, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how All Dry USA’s fire and smoke restoration service can help your business rebuild after a fire.
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