A fire safety plan is not something you throw together because it is good for business. Your fire safety plan could be the difference between minimal damage and total loss of the building. It could also be the difference between life or death.
If a fire breaks out, it threatens everything in its path. Whether it be walls, equipment, or a person, anything and everything around a fire are at serious risk. If not properly dealt with, the fire could cost you an immense amount of money in damages, and it could cost you the life of an employee.
Your fire safety plan will help protect employees, equipment, building structure, and everything else that you need to run your business. Therefore, it is essential that you take the time to construct a plan that is thorough and correct.
How to Make a Fire Safety Plan
Creating a fire safety plan does not have to be difficult. However, it should address every hazard in the building and instruct everyone inside on what to do if a fire occurs. The point of the safety plan is to protect everything and everyone from a fire.
Assess Building and Hazards
The first step is to take some time to assess the building. When doing this, you should be looking at every aspect of the structure, inside and out. Every detail, no matter how small, is important to your plan.
Go through each room of the building and imagine what would happen if a fire broke out. What could potentially be the cause of the fire? Are there items around that could give the fire more fuel to burn? Could someone get trapped inside the room?
When going through and assessing all potential hazards it is best to do so with a professional fire technician or with your local fire department. They’ll be able to recognize hazards that you may not even realize exist. Remember, no hazard is too small. Even something as simple as a coffee pot is a fire hazard.
Establish Roles and Responsibilities
During a fire, it is important that each employee knows precisely what to do. The quickest way to cause more harm is for people to panic during a fire. That is why part of your fire safety plan should designate roles to trusted employees and assign a backup person in case that person is not around.
As the owner of the company, everyone in the building will look to you as their leader. It’s important that the owner steps up and guides employees to safety. If you’re not around the day a fire breaks out, ensure you have a designated leader to fill your place. Once this is established, you can create a chain of command and assign roles to everyone.
Assign roles that help ensure the safety of everyone. Everyone in the building should know who plays what role in the case of a fire. Some of those roles include:
- Who calls 911?
- Who does a head count at each muster point?
- Who ensures everyone in their room has escaped?
- Who is responsible for ensuring the doors are closed?
- Who should train staff members on the fire safety plan?
- Who should report potential fire hazards?
- Who inspects the fire extinguishers and smoke detectors?
Make a Fire Exit Plan
You should have detailed instructions as to what to do in the case of a fire. Include every point you can think of, even the ones you would assume to be common sense. It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.
Instruct everyone to remain calm and immediately evacuate the area. Once everyone is cleared, completely close the doors, but do not lock them. The fire department may need access. Trigger the fire alarm if it did not go off.
There should be two escape routes for every room in the building. The primary route would be the main one to use. The secondary route would be available if the person cannot make it to the primary escape plan. Once outside, there should be a designated meeting location so that the person in charge can do a head count.
Other instructions of the fire exit plan should include points on using only the stairs and not the elevators, report to the fire department, and do not enter the building until cleared by emergency services.
Inspect Smoke Detectors
By law, buildings are required to have smoke detectors. However, those devices need regular maintenance and testing. Part of your fire safety plan should include a section on who is in charge of testing all smoke alarms and changing the batteries when necessary. This should be done on a monthly basis.
Period inspection by a licensed fire technician is also required. Ensure that all fire alarm systems are inspected and tested by professionals on a routine basis. They will also check to see that the smoke detectors are installed correctly, in the right place, and that you have the correct amount in the building.
Test Fire Extinguishers
Just as you test and inspect the fire alarms, you should incorporate testing the fire extinguishers into your fire safety plan. Fire extinguishers are another way of protecting people from a fire and everything that’s around the flames. The person using the extinguisher wouldn’t want to find out that it does not work at that needed moment.
Every month, the designated employee should inspect the fire extinguishers. That person should check the gauges, pressure, and the expiry date. If any of these parts are faulty or expired, he or she should report to their superior that the fire extinguisher needs repair or replacing. This employee should also be fully trained in how to operate the extinguisher.
Ensure that you have the right fire extinguisher for the right job. If you work in a building that has lots of electrical equipment, you would not want to use an extinguisher that is for paper and cloth. An annual inspection by a licensed technician will help keep your fire extinguisher up to date and make sure you have the correct one for the job.
Check Fire Sprinkler Systems
You likely have a fire sprinkler system in the building. If not, now is a good time to read why fire sprinkler systems are so important to your fire safety plan.
There is not just a one-set fire sprinkler system for every building. Depending on what is in the room, it could change the type of system used. Speaking with a professional about fire sprinklers will help you understand which system is best for your building.
In your fire safety plan, a designated employee who is properly trained to know what to look for should inspect all parts of the sprinkler system. This should include the pressure gauges and the seals around the pipes. When in doubt, call your trained professional for help.
Host Drills and Surprise Drills
Holding drills is the best way to ensure that every employee knows your fire safety plan and that it works. The drills are not a chance to take a break from work. They are important to the safety of everyone in the building and should be taken seriously.
During these drills, those who have a designated role should take responsibility. Treat a drill as if there was an actual fire. This is how you know what works and what does not work in your plan. Regular drills help to keep everyone calm and to reduce any confusion that could cause serious harm.
A fire safety plan is important to the safety of everyone inside a building. A proper plan can protect people from the serious dangers of a fire. Without one, people are often left confused as to what to do, and it could lead to a serious injury or even death.
Every step you create in your fire safety plan should be routinely reviewed by not just yourself, but by a trained professional. They went through the training to help everyone else stay protected. Check with fire safety companies in Toronto to make sure your safety plan is effective, accurate, and complete.
Keep your business, your equipment, and your employees safe by creating a fire safety plan today.