One of the most dangerous and devastating events that could happen to any business is a fire, potentially causing serious injuries, structural damage, monetary losses, and more. In order to limit the potential for injuries and minimize damage during a fire, it is important to have a comprehensive fire protection plan in place, fully train employees on its implementation, practice it often, and update it regularly.
Requirements for fire protection plans will often vary based on the size of the facility, number of employees, local fire codes, and other factors. Small facilities with fewer than 10 employees may only need a verbal plan, for instance, while larger facilities will need a detailed written plan that is posted in a conspicuous location and often approved by local authorities. Regardless of the size of your business and local requirements, it is good practice to have a comprehensive, highly detailed fire protection plan in place that goes beyond minimum requirements. Every fire protection plan should include:
An emergency evacuation plan – Egress routes, emergency exits, and the responsibilities of specific employees should be identified and detailed thoroughly. Employees should know when and how to respond to an emergency, and leaders should be selected to coordinate the evacuation in a safe, orderly manner. Special considerations should be taken for those who speak foreign languages, the elderly, or those who have disabilities. Egress routes and emergency exits should be clearly marked, with appropriate emergency lighting to assist during power outages.
A designated emergency response team – Select personnel who will be trained in the use of fire protection equipment, regularly inspect for fire hazards, enforce fire safety rules, and take the lead in emergency situations. This will include securing fire hazards during an emergency, operating fire protection equipment, supervising the evacuation, and helping others to safety.
Identification of fire hazards – Possible sources of ignition, fuel, or chemical reactions should be identified and cataloged. This includes machines and electronics that could generate sparks, fuel sources like paper or flammable liquids, and dangerous chemicals.
A fire prevention plan – Create procedures to identify dangerous materials, store them safely, assign responsibility for safekeeping, and maintain proper documentation. Create and enforce fire safety rules that minimize the chances of fire ignition and spread, such as eliminating smoking, keeping flammable liquids away from ignition sources, checking for electrical faults, and taking extra precautions when welding or using a torch. Have regular inspections for safety hazards, and correct all problems immediately.
Regular training and drills – Create a training schedule that keeps all new and current employees up to date on the fire protection plan and procedures. Practice escape plans regularly with drills, and train all employees to use basic fire protection systems such as fire extinguishers and suppression systems. Ensure all training meets OSHA and NFPA standards.
Preventative maintenance – Keep all fire protection systems ready with professional preventative maintenance of fire sprinklers, fire pumps, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and emergency lighting. Have all systems inspected and tested often, and replace failed equipment immediately. Provide routine maintenance for all potentially dangerous equipment, such as welders, stoves, heating equipment, high-voltage systems, or fuel storage systems.
When you need help to create a fire protection plan, keep your fire protection systems maintained, or install new fire protection equipment, talk to our experts at Kauffman Co. We serve commercial facilities throughout the Houston area.
Call us today at (713) 893-1090 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today!
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