If you own a business or manage a commercial property, you should consider adding improved fire safety to your New Year’s resolutions. While goals like these may not usually make your list, they’re an essential piece to your safety puzzle. Reevaluating your fire safety plan and taking a pass at your existing procedures will help protect your property and protect the people inside it:
Fire Safety Resolutions for 2023
Local regulations require your business to have a fire prevention strategy, but not all plans are created equal. Notice that there’s room for improvement in your current plan? Here are a few actions our experts recommend you take:
Keep up With Fire Code Changes
Guidelines related to fire safety evolve as new technology or information emerges. For example, the NFPA issued a new National Electrical Code for 2023 that applies to all 50 states—but requirements for your specific state may vary. These regulations are essential because electrical malfunctions are the second leading cause of office and store fires. As with personal resolutions, it’s sometimes best to go back to the basics and ensure you’re on top of them.
Inspect and Maintain Fire Safety Systems
Most local jurisdictions require annual inspections of your fire protection systems. But you’ll want to walk through your facility before the inspectors arrive so that you can point out potential issues in advance. Use this fire inspection checklist to prepare ahead of time, and evaluate these six areas of assessment:
- Fire sprinklers
- Fire alarms
- Fire extinguishers
- Electrical safety
- Storage and housekeeping
Conduct Fire Safety Training
Employees are a valuable line of defense against fire prevention. They can recognize and remove threats or take quick action to reduce losses if a fire breaks out. Annual fire safety training shows new hires how to handle an emergency and provides a refresher course for other employees.
OSHA also requires fire safety training for employees. You can create a class or have employees take an online course that complies with OSHA standards. A fire safety training program should cover the following:
- Recognizing fire hazards
- What to do when a fire occurs
- Evacuation plans and emergency exits
- How the fire suppression or sprinkler system works
Ongoing Risk Reduction
Fire prevention is all about reducing risk, and you can do this year-round to ensure your safety. Here are some of the most effective safety measures to reduce the risk of fire:
- Keep trash in appropriate bins; do not let it pile up or block doorways.
- Use industrial-grade extension cords (avoid permanent use of extension cords).
- Only use power strips that are UL listed with built-in circuit breakers.
- Keep supply and merchandise at least three feet from the heating units.
- Store combustible materials in approved cabinets per OSHA/NFPA rules.
- Avoid leaving electrical appliances, like space heaters, unattended.
- Keep fire extinguishers accessible and fully charged.
Update Exit Signs and Escape Routes
Employees and visitors need to find the exits quickly if a fire occurs. According to NFPA 101, exit signs should be easy to see and continually lit, even in a power outage. Extensive facilities, like hotels, should have a building layout diagram on each floor showing the nearest exits.
Keep exit routes visible near fire doors, overhead doors, stairways, halls, and windows. Remind employees to keep everyday objects like shopping carts and trash receptacles out of evacuation routes. Also, clear outdoor pathways so the fire department can access fire hydrants.
Partner with Experts
A&A Fire Protection is here to help ensure your fire sprinkler system effectively protects your business and meets all local codes. Our services include designing and installing fire sprinkler systems, routine checks, emergency 24-hour service, and renovating existing systems. If improving your fire protection strategy is one of your resolutions, A&A Fire Protection Services can help.