No one can ever tell when a fire is going to break out or start in their building. However, fire emergencies can strike anytime - affecting businesses across the United States. Learn how to prepare for a fire emergency from experienced fire protection contractors.
During a fire emergency, your customers and employees could be ordered to evacuate the premises at a moment's notice. Thus, fire protection contractors recommend that your staff be ready in case a fire emergency or any other disaster happens in your building.
Create an Emergency Response Plan
Determining an emergency response plan – which summarizes the things your staff must do in an emergency – is a highly effective strategy to get ready for an unforeseen disaster.
If you’re unsure of what to outline in your emergency response plan, hire the services of fire protection contractors. They can supply you with the fire protection supplies you need as well as the professional guidance in establishing an emergency plan for your commercial building.
Important Items to Include in Emergency Response Plans
The specifics in your emergency response plan must take into account the particular conditions of your building. This includes the size of it, the number of staff you have, your operation hours, contact details of emergency response personnel or first responders, etc.
While the specifics in an action plan for different buildings may differ, here are the common things every action plan must contain:
Evacuation Procedures and Policies. The emergency action plan must include clear evacuation routes, assisting people with disabilities, crown control strategies, and procedures to reach the local fire department.
Escape Route Maps and Diagrams. Distinguish primary and alternative exit points, routes for persons with disabilities, and assembly areas outside the building. Other equipment you have acquired from your fire protection contractors, such as fire extinguishers, fire alarm controls, standpipe stations, and manual fire alarm stations, must be clearly labeled.
Duties of Particular Staff Members During Emergency. Decide whether you’re delegating specific staff members with responsibilities during an emergency. Perhaps you’d want to assign someone to use the fire extinguishers, or another member of the team to lead the evacuation procedures or someone else in charge of calling the proper authorities.
You must clearly specify their duties – whether it’s medical, rescue, evacuation, etc. - and the other particulars to help them perform those tasks. You can also designate a specific staff member to shut down any critical operations, should the situation calls for, and permits it – without compromising their safety, of course.
Employee Training in Fire Prevention
While preparedness is of utmost importance in any emergency, adequate preventative training and procedures may stop fires from ever starting in the first place. As such, you can get fire protection contractors to teach you and your staff members the following important points:
- Make sure that you’re keeping up with the maintenance, repair, and inspection of your fire protection equipment. For instance, if you have a restaurant with a commercial kitchen, keep up with maintaining your restaurant kitchen’s hoods clean and removing grease buildup.
- Put away flammable items such as boxes, fabrics, and paper products away from cooking surfaces or heat origin points.
- Make sure your facility is getting ample ventilation whenever you need to use flammable cleaning agents and other chemicals – especially in areas with no sufficient heat sources.
- Dispose of wood pallets, cardboard boxes, and other paper products regularly, so they don’t pile up.
- It’s not advisable to smoke. However, if you allow this within your building, strongly advise your employees to do so outdoors. Make sure they are disposing of their cigarettes properly, as well.
- Always keep emergency exits and hallways clear and free of any obstructions.
Additional Training from Fire Protection Contractors
Here is the additional training you can provide to your employees. You can hire the services of professional fire protection contractors to help you with this task. However, make sure they are certified to do so.
You must perform routine fire drills. This is an extremely effective strategy to ensure that your emergency response plan is remembered by each of your employees. Routine fire drills are also an ideal time for your team to practice their specific responsibilities during an emergency.
Fire Extinguisher Training
You may think using a fire extinguisher is easy and simple. While this is true to an extent, not all of your employees will be able to perform this should the need arise. Find fire protection contractors who can provide fire extinguisher training approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in your area.