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Almost Ten Fire Safety Tips For Businesses

Jun 18, 2008
Fire safety procedures and actions are heavily legislated now in the UK but apart from having regular fire risk assessments, there are ways in which to create a state of mind in your employees to not only recognise the risks of fire but also to pursue safety principles that will aid the prevention of fire. The law obviously has certain legislation that ensures business premises have extinguishers and suitable exits, but there are ways in which to make your business safer that work in addition to legal responsibilities. Here are ten of the best tips for those who run businesses to make sure fire safety is a primary concern.

1) The first of these safety tips is to make sure that the exits within your business are extensive; having suitable doorways and staircases means that staff members will have a suitable number of exits should a fire break out. In addition, these exits should at all times be kept clear, items such as cardboard boxes and furniture should never be placed in front of exits; understandably people tend to panic when fire breaks out, ensuring they have a clear route out of the premises is essential.

2) Second, it is important to install some form of emergency lighting as a safety precaution should fire break out. The most useful of these systems are battery operated and initiate operations when the alarm is sounded. They are not designed so that people can work under their light but to provide at least an hour's light that is sufficient to allow the evacuation of a property.

3) The third piece of fire safety advice that may be raised by your legally obliged fire risk assessment will be your use of extension cables. Many businesses utilise extension leads and there is no problem with this as long as it is done with safety principles in mind. An extension cable should never be run through doors or under carpets where it may be hard to notice wear and tear. If you are having problems with the outlets in your premises, rather than using extension leads it is more advisable to increase the number of outlets.

4) In addition to the use of extension leads, it should be remembered that multi plug adaptors should ideally be used as a temporary solution to power problems. Most fire safety professionals will advise businesses that these types of plug are inherently unsafe; ideally, a certified electrician should be used to increase the number of outlets.

5) Legally, most business premises should have some form of alarm system should a fire break out, especially if the premises is used for manufacture or houses flammable materials. These alarm systems should be checked and tested regularly by a fire safety officer to ensure that they are working correctly and more importantly will work when a fire breaks occurs.

6) In addition to the fire alarm, it is an important safety procedure to enact fire drills on a regular basis, by doing this you will give your staff the best chance of escape should the worst happen. A general figure, although not legally defined for all types of business is to conduct a drill every quarter of the year, if working in an environment with children this figure should be around one a month.

7) As part of your fire safety precautions it is often advisable to install some form of sprinkler system. Once again these systems will have to be tested regularly by fire safety officers to ensure they are working properly.

8) Legally, all business premises must have fire extinguishers as a safety precaution. It is also important that the right types of extinguishers are installed to deal with the different types of fire. In addition, you should have these extinguishers tested regularly by a professional and staff should be made aware of their positions and how to use them.

9) Finally, as part of your fire safety strategy detailed records of all the above should be taken in order that you have a file that contains all of your fire procedures should it come to the time of an inspection. Fire can ruin a business; understandably managers want to keep their staff members safe, subsequently having an all encompassing approach to safety is essential.
About the Author
Expert Thomas Pretty looks into some of the best fire safety tips to make your workplace a safer area.
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