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Follow These Steps to Improve Fire Protection for Your Business

Follow These Steps to Improve Fire Protection for Your Business

For every minute, the US fire department responds to a fire incident somewhere in the nation. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are over thousands of breakouts reported every year in the United States alone most of which are involving vehicles, forests (wildfires), residential properties, and business establishments.

Although the number of fires and fire related deaths have significantly decreased since the 70’s, some statistics are more troubling. The most common reported fire causes include home candle fires, fireworks, grills and other cooking equipment, faulty electrical structure, heaters, acts of nature (lightning), and etc.

And for businesses, especially food related services, you can never really afford to have a fire emergency. A breakout could either literally burn your business to the ground and leave you with nothing; or, empty your pockets trying to repair the damage it has caused.

Fire safety is integral to businesses and investing in a good fire protection system is always a smart decision to make. Though the initial cost may hurt your budget a little, it is nothing compared to the damage a fire breakout can cost you. For starters, a basic fire protection system includes a smoke detector and a sprinkler.

If fire sparks, the smoke sets off the detector, which activates the sprinklers. This should at least help prevent the fire from spreading out your establishment. However, if we're dealing with certain critical equipment or special hazards, an automatic fire suppression system with clean agents are a better choice.

But as the old adage goes, prevention is always better than cure. We've listed down the 20 essential to-dos to help you improve fire protection for your small business:

Coordinate with a Fire Safety Officer

Having a fire safety officer to routinely inspect your establishment for fire hazards is essential for a smoother business operation. They will also help you set up fire escape routes and exits for your employees should a fire break out.

Keep Stairwells and Exit Paths Clear

Flammable materials like boxes and crates shouldn’t be stored in stairwells neither should they be blocking these paths. Make sure exit paths are easy to access and clear of obstruction should a fire break out at your establishment.

Assign a Designated Smoking Area

Your employees and customers should have a designated smoking area in your establishment. It is usually located outside of premises or in an open space where it is far from flammable materials.

Routinely Check Your Electrical Works

Get an electrician to routinely inspect your electrical works. Electrical cords with broken connectors should be replaced right away. Avoid Octopus wiring as well as this may cause overheating.

Keep Your Equipment Cool

Make sure your equipment stays cool by giving enough room for heat to vent out. Avoid stacking equipment too close to each other especially those that use heat and electricity. Make sure to unplug equipment when not in use.

Reduce Your Arson Risk

Unfortunately, not all fires are caused by accidents. Some are intentional so it’s best for business owners to understand their establishment’s arson risk. Make sure employees lock the doors after work days and the outside area is free of combustibles.

Store Flammable Materials Safely

Avoid storing flammable materials near the furnace or in any area where it may catch fire. If possible, make sure to invest in storage equipment that is fire poof.

Routine Maintenance for Machines and Equipment

Keep your machines clean and turn them off if not in use to avoid any kind of fire. Have a technician to routinely inspect your machines especially older ones to prevent any issues that may cost you down the line.

Invest in a Good Alarm System

Having a good fire alarm system will prevent a small fire to turn into a big one. A basic system that includes a smoke detector and sprinkler is a good start for small business owners.

Keep Fire Extinguishers Easy to Access

Have your fire extinguishers set up at visible place with a visible fire extinguisher sign that can be seen at any point. Do remember that extinguishers have expiration dates so it’s best to have experts look into it when possible.

Establish a Garbage Disposal Policy

We don’t segregate our trash according to its flammability. Make sure garbage are disposed properly at the end of your business hours.

Keep Doors Closed when Not in Use

Keeping doors closed when not in use is a simple way to prevent fires from spreading. Closed door can slow the spread of flames, reduce toxic smoke, improve oxygen levels, and decrease temperatures.

Sprinkler Systems Maintenance is a Must

A routine check of your sprinkler system is necessary to check if the sprinklers are damaged.

Check for Lint Trap in Dryers

Clean out lint trap in dryers. A lint trap is part of a clothes dryer that acts as a filter by trapping lint as air is vented out during the drying cycle. A clean filter also helps prevent dryer fires.

Invest in Cooking Fire Suppression Systems

If you are in the restaurant business, having a cooking fire suppression system is a must. Like other fire protection system, make sure it’s routinely inspected to ensure it’s functional when needed.

Do not Use Mechanical Rooms as Storage

Rooms intended to house mechanical equipment should never be used as a storage facility. Do not store anything inside the mechanical room so it doesn’t overheat or catch fire. Lock the door if not in use.

Flush Test Your Standpipe

Conduct a flush test every five years on your standpipe to make sure there are no obstructions inside that may cause fire.

Always Test Smoke Alarms

Make sure your smoke alarms tested every month especially for older units. Most fire alarm systems have an average lifespan of 10 years.

Stay Updated on Fire Code Changes

Make sure the you are up-to-date to the fire code changes that your local community has instituted.

Have Good Spill Control Procedures

Remember the 4c’s when dealing with hazardous spills. 1.) Communicate and notify others of the spill. 2.) Control the spill and stop it before it gets worse. 3.) Contain the spill and keep it from spreading. 4.) Cleanup and collect the material used to neutralize the spill.

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