Photo by Adam
Wilson on Unsplash
While the chances of accidental fires in the office may be
the last thing on our minds, Winter places us under increasing risk as we use
our heating appliances more often.
Of course, it is always wise to make sure your commercial insurance covers
you for fire damage, but having the right office fire safety measures should be
first on your priority list. It goes without saying that the trauma that comes
with uncontrolled fires is worth avoiding at all costs.
To help you enforce fire safety and ensure your employees
are protected from any harm, we’ve written up a few pointers on office fire
Establish an emergency response plan – do you have a
proper fire emergency response plan in place? Being prepared in the event of an
emergency can be the difference between life and death. As part of your plan,
you should show your employees where all the fire extinguishers are located and
teach them how to use them. It’s also wise to have a map of all the entrances
and exits in the office building and run escape drills (at least once a year)
to make sure everyone knows how to get out of the building as quickly as
Fireproof your office cooking area – simple things
such as installing fire sensors in the most at-risk areas, ensuring employees
leave all cooking appliances unplugged after use and moving appliances a fair
distance away from any flammable objects such as serviettes, dishcloths or
curtains, can go a long way to fireproofing your office. As an employer, you
should also make sure your staff know how important it is not to leave their
lunches unattended while cooking them. Unattended microwave popcorn, for
instance, can lead to fire in only a few minutes with such a rapid heat build-up.
Be very cautious with portable heaters – portable
heaters are a major cause of office fires, so it’s important to keep a close
eye on them. Second to keeping them away from flammable objects, it’s a really
good idea to unplug them after use – it can be so easy to forget, and so
setting a reminder on your phone may be necessary for the sake of your office’s
If you are in the process of considering which heaters to
buy for your office, try opting for ceramic heaters if possible, as these are
known to be one of the safest options.
Don’t overload circuits – making use of extension
cords in the office should only be reserved for temporary occasions and they
should always be unplugged when they’re not in use. Having too many devices
drawing on an electrical circuit, that has been designed to handle a limited
amount of electricity, can overload it and could cause the wiring to overheat,
melt the insulation and cause a fire.
List the contact numbers of essential fire emergency
services – You should keep a list of
all the relevant fire emergency services in your area and ensure that the list
is placed in an area where everyone can easily see it.
After reading these office fire safety tips, we hope that
you and your employees are more alert when it comes to potential fire hazards
in your office and that you will take time to think about how to fireproof it
as best you can.
For more information on fire safety, visit the Fire Protection Association of Southern Africa.