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Preventing and Responding to Fires in the Workplace

Workplace-fire

A workplace fire can be devastating to a business and the surrounding community. In addition to potential injuries and deaths, businesses can incur severe property damages, and employees may lose their source of income. After a devastating fire, some businesses have difficulty recovering and may not ever reopen.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), there were roughly 125,500 workplace fires in 2021, resulting in $3.5 billion in property damage, over 1,100 injuries, and 130 deaths. When selling fire alarm systems to businesses, it is crucial that you educate them about the importance of fire safety, emphasize the need for a state-of-the-art fire alarm system, and teach them ways to prevent fires from occurring in the first place.

If you haven’t partnered with a quality central station, like Quick Response, you are doing your customers and yourself a grave disservice. A central station will monitor your customers’ fire alarms twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. If a fire alarm goes off at one of your customer’s place of business, it will immediately alert the central station so that they can notify the authorities.

This shortens the amount of time it takes for firefighters and emergency responders to arrive at the scene and begin addressing the fire. A central station also eliminates the need for your customers to call 911 in the event of a fire. Your customers can focus on getting themselves, their customers, and their employees to safety and have the peace of mind that the fire department is already on its way.

Central station monitoring can be a major selling point for your fire alarm systems. It reduces the likelihood of injury and death, as well as the amount of property damage, if a fire does occur and improves your business’s reputation. If you are interested in partnering with a UL-certified, TMA Five Diamond central station, reach out to Quick Response today.

Additionally, fire alarm systems require periodic maintenance and inspections. A faulty fire alarm is not useful to anyone. Offering routine maintenance and inspection programs is another great way to sell your fire alarm systems. Your customers don’t want to deal with maintenance and repairs themselves. Routine maintenance services ensure their investment works well 100% of the time.

6 Workplace Fire Prevention Tips

It should go without saying that fire alarms are a last resort. The hope is that your customers never even have to hear their fire alarms go off. Prevention and preparation are just as crucial as response. You should communicate the following fire safety tips to your existing and potential customers so that they can reduce the chances of a fire occurring in the first place. Customers will appreciate that you care for their well-being and aren’t just out for a paycheck.

1. Minimize Fire Hazards and Identify Fire-Prone Areas

One of the best ways to prevent workplace fires is to eliminate fire hazards before they become a problem. When your customers know what to look for, they can create a safer environment for their employees and customers. Some of the most common workplace fire hazards include the following.

  • Electrical wiring
  • Cooking appliances
  • Overloaded power strips
  • Heating appliances
  • Lighting equipment
  • Smoking materials
  • Office equipment
  • Flammable materials

Additionally, some workplaces have areas that are more likely to experience fires than others. Common fire-prone areas in the workplace include the following.

  • Employee kitchens and break rooms
  • Server rooms with a lot of machinery
  • Chemical supply rooms and closets
  • Laboratories or other areas with flammable materials
  • Factory spaces with a lot of machinery

Help your customers identify areas and hazards that pose a risk and work together to minimize those risks. For example, encourage your customers to unplug equipment when it isn’t in use and regulate temperatures around combustible materials.

2. Designate and Mark Emergency Exits

Every workplace should have designated emergency exits that employees and customers should use in the event of a fire. Those exits should be clearly marked and well-lit so they can be easily located even under the harshest conditions. The pathways to those exits must also be kept clear from obstacles or obstructions.

3. Keep Fire Safety Equipment on Standby

Your customers should have an appropriate number of fire extinguishers stationed throughout the workplace. They should have their fire extinguishers inspected on a regular basis. You should also encourage them to invest in a fire blanket, which they can use to smother a small fire before it spreads.

Of course, fire extinguishers and blankets don’t matter if their employees don’t know how to use them. We recommend providing instructions and tutorial videos that your customers can pass on to their employees.

4. Educate Employees About Fire Safety Guidelines

Businesses have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees. They also owe a similar duty to any customers or business partners that visit the premises. This legal and moral responsibility requires that businesses take reasonable measures to prevent fires. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), businesses should create a strict fire prevention plan and post it somewhere in the workplace where everyone can see it. Employees should be informed and trained on a variety of items, including the following.

  • The location of major fire hazards
  • How to properly handle and store hazardous materials
  • How to identify of potential ignition sources
  • Where fire protection equipment is and how to use it
  • Area-specific evacuation plans
  • Procedures for controlling combustible waste materials
  • Instructions for reporting new fire hazards

5. Understand Specific Industry Risks

Every industry has different risks, so it’s important that each of your clients take an individualized approach to fire safety. For example, a retail store or law office will have vastly different risks than an auto parts manufacturing plant or a regional hospital. 

Businesses must consider industry-specific risks when it comes to fire safety. Some businesses serve customers and have regular working hours; others are closed to customers but operate 24/7. Some businesses use heavy machinery and dangerous chemicals, while others don’t. 

6. Assign Fire Safety Roles

Organizations should assign one person or a team of people to oversee fire safety in the workplace. At least one employee should be designated as the company’s “fire warden.” This role is responsible for understanding what hazards can cause workplace fires and determining ways to minimize those risks. Other tasks of the fire warden include the following.

  • Conducting periodic walkthroughs of the workspace
  • Documenting fire risks and report them to management
  • Scheduling and executing regular fire drills
  • Implementing workplace safety initiatives

Partner with Quick Response Today!

Your business customers need 24/7 fire alarm monitoring. It helps save lives and protect valuable property and assets. If a fire occurs, a central station will contact the local authorities and dispatch them to the location immediately. 

Quick Response’s monitoring services can help you deliver the high-quality service your clients need and expect. With over 40 years in the business, we are a national leader in central station monitoring services, offering round-the-clock protection for clients. Contact us if you would like to learn more!

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