Fire preparedness is not just for larger operations. Even if you have an office with no more than four or five people working, you need to have a plan of action related to fire safety. While you may not need something as comprehensive as the Herbert Williams fire protection systems used in manufacturing plants or other large businesses, you still need some basics. Here are four examples to keep in mind.
A fire extinguisher is widely used fire safety equipment for small businesses. Different types of fire extinguishers are available in the market that can help protect small businesses from fire. There are stationary pumps, foam and water extinguishers, wet chemical extinguishers, portable extinguishers, extinguishers having small hose lines, and carbon dioxide extinguishers. The type and number you need depend on elements, for instance, the danger level of a building and the local codes.
Fire extinguishers should be placed in strategic locations that are easily accessible. The local fire marshal can provide guidelines for the placement of a minimum number of extinguishers. Since you’re a conscientious business owner, you will want to include at least two or three more in the layout.
The goal is to place the extinguishers so that employees can reach them quickly and use them to keep the fire at bay as they make their way to the nearest safe exit. Remember to have the units checked regularly so they are always in top working condition.
As with the extinguishers, it pays to have them placed so there’s a quick alert if any type of fire should break out. Make sure the units that are installed have battery backup as well as power from a primary source. Even if the power is cut, the alarms will still work. Do remember to have them checked by a professional from time to time. It’s also a good idea to install new batteries every few months, even if the old ones still seem to be working.
Experts suggest smoke alarms overheat detectors. It’s because heat detectors are slow at detecting fires as compared to smoke alarms that can detect heat and fire much quickly. Moreover, smoke alarms have a lower rate of false alarm. Smoke alarms are available in different types i.e. ionization smoke alarm, photoelectric smoke alarm, and a combination of both these alarms. An ionization smoke alarm can best respond to raging fires whereas a photoelectric smoke alarm can operate through a light source. It is highly recommended to choose a combination alarm for detecting both slow smoldering and fast-growing fires.
If there’s more than one story at your business site, escape ladders are a must. Should the doors be inaccessible for any reason, or if the elevator or stairs leading to the main floor can’t be used, the ladders can be extended and attached to an upstairs window frame. Any employees who are on the second floor can descend the side of the building and reach safety.
There are several design options to consider. While there are still rope ladders that were once popular, do consider a metal retractable design. Some of these use a combination of chains and metal steps that are easy to store, and equally easy to deploy. There are also designs that come with hooks that make it easy to affix the ladder to the window casing and then extend the ladder to the ground. The weight-bearing qualities of the latter design make it easier for people to descent a little faster, something that could minimize the potential for injuries.
Even with a small operation, it’s a good idea to invest in a fire suppression systems installation. The system can be simple sprinklers that activate when the fire is detected. Alternatively, you can install a system that releases some sort of fire retardant chemicals that will help to bring the blaze under control. A professional can go over each of these system options and help you choose the one that’s best for your site.
Sprinkler systems can be both complex and simple. A wet pipe system is the most regularly installed sprinkler. When it is activated, it discharges water on the fire through its pipes. But in cold weather, there’s a high risk of the water freezing. Other sprinkler systems include deluge, dry pipe, and preaction. For unheated places, a dry pipe sprinkler system is perfect whereas a preaction system is ideal for controlled protection and helps protect computer rooms.
A deluge system is perfect for a building in which the fire risk needs an automatic and simultaneous activation of each sprinkler head. If building renovation is in sequence, then the sprinkler system will be designed as per the state of the building. It’s important to have the right fire safety system and it must be installed professionally. Once it is professionally installed, it must be regularly maintained.
All fire safety equipment installed in your entity must be inspected once in a year. It is important to provide fire safety risk assessment training to your employees. Business owners can avoid fire by taking necessary precautions to reduce the chances of a fire in their workplace. If in case a fire breaks out, its negative consequences can be diminished by installing fire safety systems and equipment in your workplace. Fire can be caught due to several reasons. This is why it is good to have a fire protection system and fire safety equipment inside your building.
Call a professional and arrange for a fire safety inspection. Ask for ideas on what equipment to purchase and the type of system to install. With the right approach, you can make sure that you and your employees are safe even if a fire should break out.