As a business owner, you may feel like you have a lot to lose. With the proper planning and preparation, you can keep your business running smoothly, especially when it comes to avoidable risks like fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), during the five-year period of 2007-2011, fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year, leading to a staggering $112 million in damage, several injuries and even death.
These tragic occurrences are often entirely avoidable. Learn what typically causes fires in workplace settings, and how you can prevent them in your own company, with tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®.
The top causes of fire damage in businesses
According to the NFPA, commercial fires and their resulting property damage are mostly caused by these incidents, from most common to least common:
- Cooking equipment
- Electrical and lighting systems
- Heating equipment
- Smoking materials
- Office or electronic equipment
How to prevent commercial fires
Teach your employees about fire safety
Protecting against a commercial fire begins with training your employees on how to prevent them. Since most workplace fires start in the office kitchen, start by educating them on office kitchen fire safety tips. Many fires can be prevented if employees keep an eye on their food, unplug the appliance after using it and uphold other rules in your business setting.
It’s also important to train staff how to properly use fire extinguishers in the office, in case the flames are small enough to put out without calling emergency services. If an active blaze is uncontrollable, your employees should know which emergency protocols are in place and which evacuation routes are available to keep them safe.
Inspect your office equipment
As the business owner, you should also check your office equipment regularly. Make sure kitchen appliances are clean, functioning properly and that electrical cords aren’t frayed. Then, perform proper maintenance and inspections on office supplies and heating, electrical and lighting systems to ensure everything is running safely.
What to do if a workplace fire does occur
In case of a commercial fire, it’s imperative to have an emergency plan in place. If an employee sees a fire that can be quickly contained, they should attempt to use the fire extinguisher right away. If the fire is too large to extinguish, the staff member should immediately engage your emergency alarm system. Once the alarm is ringing, everyone must exit through appropriate, pre-determined evacuation routes. When an employee makes it safely outside, they should call 9-1-1.
After your workforce is outdoors and standing in the designated waiting spots, do an official head count. If anyone is missing, don’t rush back inside the burning building to find them. Instead, alert the emergency services that this person is missing and allow the fire department to conduct a search.
What to do after the fire is out
In the unfortunate event that a fire does break out in your business, call on the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore. Our commercial fire and smoke damage removal services guide you through every step of the process to ensure you can get your doors back open as quickly as possible. We’ll even work to save as many critical business assets as we can, including important documents, computers, data storage devices, product stock and more. With a commitment to be by your side every step of the way, we’ll work with you to ensure you can get back to business as usual.