Whether it’s on your mind because of a certain episode of This Is Us or you’ve seen the security spring cleaning tips floating around online, there’s never a bad time to brush up on office fire safety information.
We’ve gathered a few tips to help prevent and prepare for fires in the office.
1. Have a fire evacuation plan.
Between 2007-2011, there were more than 3,340 fires in office properties, according to estimates by the National Fire Prevention Association. Does your office have an emergency evacuation plan? Do you practice it regularly? If the answer to either of these questions was “no,” it’s time to implement or review your office emergency evacuation plan. OSHA has a great, comprehensive breakdown of them here.
2. Invest in the right equipment – and ensure it’s being monitored.
In 2016 alone, the Oregon Office of the Fire Marshal estimated $128 million lost in non-residential fires. And while we’re not saying anything bad about those $25 smoke alarms you bought at the hardware store, professionally monitored smoke detectors and CO monitors could mean the difference between peace of mind and that sinking moment you realize you forgot to buy new batteries for your self-installed smoke detector…two years ago.
Having a designated, highly trained person watching over your fire system 24/7 ready to dispatch the fire department can provide unmatched protection. According to research done by the NFPA, 31% of office fires happen between 7pm and 7am, and result in more than 67% of the property damage cost. Meaning: almost one third of these fires are happening after regular office hours, when no one is around to see or hear the alarms going off. As noted by the NFPA, “These findings highlight the need for automatic detection and extinguishing equipment to protect these properties when they aren’t occupied.”
Not only is professional monitoring a useful step in protecting your workplace from fire, but having a licensed technician install the fire equipment only adds to peace of mind. They work with industry standard equipment and know the most effective places to install these items. Plus, our technicians always test to make sure everything works properly — and return annually to ensure it keeps working properly. A simple tip to help you remember to check your smoke detectors in the meantime? Test them when you change your clocks!
3. Know the different fire extinguishers.
Did you know that there are more than six different classes of fire extinguishers? Most class A fire extinguishers will work on ordinary combustibles (paper, plastics, clothing, wood, etc.), but it’s good to learn which fire extinguishers at your workplace specialize in what type of fire — so you never spray the wrong one on, say, the expensive hardware and irreplaceable data of your computer servers. There’s also PASS, an easy acronym to remember how to use them:
Pull the pin
Squeeze the lever
Sweep from side to side