Making and using fire is one of the first major developments of human civilisation. It helped us develop more things and made us grow to where we are today.
Structural fire is not uncommon, in fact, in 2013 – 2014, Australian fire agencies attended to 101,867 fire related incidents, of which 19,524 (19 per cent) involved structure fires. By comparison, during the same period, the New Zealand Fire Service Commission (NZFSC) attended to 10,245 fire incidents, of which 5294 (50 per cent) were structure fires.
With that in mind, here are our tips on how to manage fire in the workplace.
Why put out a fire when you can prevent it in the first place?
Identifying and minimising the fire hazards and risks in your work could greatly reduce and minimise the likelihood of a fire.
Implement fire prevention policies tailored for your workplace. This could include designating smoking areas, or things as simple as unplugging unused equipment at the end of the day.
They say, it’s best to cross the bridge when you come to it. However, that is not the case for fire safety at work, or fire safety in general. Fire rapidly spreads, and in less than 2 minutes, your whole workplace may be covered with smoke and be engulfed in flames.
A comprehensive Evacuation Scheme will ensure you and your employees’ safe evacuation from a fire in your work. Your Evacuation Scheme must include procedures on all steps of the evacuation process. This covers who must contact the emergency services, what to do when they arrive, and how to direct everyone to the Place of Safety. Evacuation paths and exits that would take you the fastest and safest way to the Place of Safety should also be determined. These must be marked with signage for clear identification.
Being in an emergency such as a fire can be a traumatising experience. Even if you have an Evacuation Scheme, if they are not regularly practiced, panic and fright could cause chaos and prevent you from responding accordingly. Frequent repetition of the procedures will help you recall what to do through muscle memory.
Hold drills and review procedures regularly. Post site maps and play the alarm during drills so that employees know what it sounds like and what to do after hearing it. Make sure you have adequate wardens who are trained in leading evacuations.
Emergency wardens play an imperative role in keeping everyone safe during emergencies. Their function shouldn’t be disregarded, as they have many duties that could lead to serious consequences if ignored. Having a trained warden who has mastered your Evacuation Scheme is key to keeping everyone safe.
Fire Safety Systems are your first level of defence during fire. Make sure you engage someone to regularly inspect and repair defective equipment installed in your workplace.
They should also check smoke detectors and fire alarms at least once a month and ensure that it can be heard by everyone around the workplace.
Having procedures, policies and Evacuation Schemes are much more helpful when employees are unaware. Make sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of being informed with policies and Evacuation Schemes, and what to do when an emergency occurs.
Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help with fire safety at work.Back