Protecting against fires in the workplace
You enter your workplace. Greeting your coworkers, you make your way to your workspace to clock in. The warm scent of freshly brewed coffee hits your nose as you enter the breakroom. Grabbing a cup from the cupboard you pick up the pot, anxious for the crisp flavor of your morning coffee. You head back to your desk, coffee in hand. Time rushes on and soon you will be heading home; another productive day at work. Only fifteen minutes to go. You head out toward the breakroom when suddenly; a strange scent catches your nose. Not the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. This time it’s the smoky odor of something burning. Entering the breakroom, you notice smoke emanating from the plug. It seems too many appliances were plugged into the same socket. You manage to put out the fire with an extinguisher. Disaster has been averted. Tomorrow you will hold a meeting to discuss protecting against fires in the workplace.
Common causes of work related fires
Here are some issues that should be addressed in order to keep a business safe from fires. Most fires in the workplace are caused by: flammable and combustible materials, faulty wiring, compressed gasses, poor housekeeping, and human negligence (which includes kitchen outlet overload).
Devising a plan for your business
The events of the day before got you thinking. Are we prepared for this type of occurrence? There are so many ways fires can start in the workplace. We need to look at all of them. Here are some basic steps for their prevention:
- Make sure your workspace and that of your coworkers is uncluttered.
- Set a smoking policy
- Designate smoking/nonsmoking areas
- Make ashtrays available to smokers
- Install smoke detectors, or check to see that the ones installed are working properly
- Make sure extinguishers are available
- Perform maintenance on electrical equipment
- Make sure the plugs aren’t overloaded and that everyone has access to control panels to shut off electricity in the event of an electrical fire
- Make sure there are exit diagrams posted where everyone can see them
- Post contact information – emergency contact numbers and the company’s address, in plain sight
- Dangerous chemicals should not be stored near heat sources
- Have your business establish Emergency Response Protocols to help recover in the event of a fire.
And remember, should anything happen: DON’T PANIC. Follow the safe route out in an organized manner and keep calm.
Get professional help before or after a fire
No matter how much you prepare, something can still go wrong. Devising an escape route is key. Once everyone has escaped safely, your place of business may need serious help. It’s now time to talk fire damage cleanup and reconstruction. Soil-Away Cleaning and Restoration is only a call away. An IICRC certified company with over 25 years of service; they can get your business up and running quickly. Not only can they repair fire and soot damage, they can also remove smoke odor making your business like new. They are available 24/7 at 603-641-6555. They will get you back on your feet.
Written by E. Aceves