October 7 through the 13 is National Fire Prevention Week, and workplace fire safety statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show that fire departments respond to over 3,000 office property fires every year.
The good news: Office fires can be prevented, and fatalities can be avoided, with a bit of education and awareness.
The 3 Golden Rules of Workplace Fire Safety
- Maintain working fire extinguishers, AND train your staff on how to use a fire extinguisher.
- Employ a working sprinkler system and smoke detectors.
- Have an evacuation plan in place!
Sprinklers save the day: If present, sprinklers operate effectively about 90% of the time. In fact, the rate of fatalities per 1,000 fires was about 60% lower in businesses outfitted with sprinklers, as compared to offices and stores without sprinklers. That’s a huge difference!
About a quarter of workplace fires are actually caused by cooking equipment, so do your cooking in a space that’s properly equipped for food preparation. These stats also seem to indicate you should probably leave your hotplate from your college days at home.
Finally, clutter is a big contributor to the start – and spread – of workplace fires. Keeping a neat work space not only helps you look good when clients or your boss from corporate walk through; but a tidy work space goes a long way in terms of workplace fire safety.
Emergency Action Plans: Your Road map to Workplace Fire Safety
Emergency Action Plans, or EAPs, are plans written in advance to guide you and your organization during an emergency. An EAP typically designates who does what: Who calls 9-1-1? Who leads the building evacuation and takes a head count? And perhaps most importantly: Who is responsible for maintaining and operating the fire extinguishers? While the NFPA actually suggests monthly fire extinguisher inspections, it’s important to remember that even small fires spread fast. So getting out quickly and safely is always priority number one.
SCT frequently lectures on several safety topics including EAPs: Check out a short video outlining EAPs and fire safety below.
Want help creating an EAP for your company? Give the safety experts at SCT a call at 1-800-204-1729 or contact us via the form below!