Fire safety often seems like an abstract issue. Everyone understands that it is important, but the idea of a building actually burning down is the kind of thing that could only really happen to someone else. Except that it could happen to anyone and with complacency comes sloppiness which dramatically increases the risk of a fire breaking out.
If a fire were to occur it could cause significant damage and destruction, and in the worst case scenario, it could easily result in someone’s death. Even if the worst does not happen and no-one dies, recovering from a fire can take a long time and some businesses are ruined before they have the chance to rebuild.
Fortunately, the majority of risks can be mitigated with the proper training. Even then a fire can occur, but it can be brought under control relatively quickly if those present know what they are doing. The key is to make sure that everyone who is currently employed knows what to do in the event of a fire.
The first step in dealing with a fire is ensuring it never actually happens to begin with. This means learning to recognize fire hazards and making sure that everyone else who is on the premises has an up to date understanding of what constitutes a fire hazard and how to mitigate them. The key thing to remember is that a fire always needs 3 things: fuel, heat, and oxygen. So long as at least one of those two is separated from the others a fire cannot happen. It is usually difficult to deny air to a particular space, so keeping any potential sources of heat and fuel apart should always be the top priority. Since many businesses now rely on computers and other electrical equipment special care must be taken to monitor their power sources as these are one of the most common starting points for a fire.
A fire safety risk assessment must be completed regularly. This will identify not only how to prevent a fire, but what to do in the event that one does start. A typical assessment will look at several factors including emergency routes, exits, fire detection systems like alarms, the removal of dangerous substances, the evacuation plan, the needs of particularly vulnerable people who may need assistance and general employee communication practices.
Everyone must have an up to date understanding of what to do if a fire breaks out. If different people are attempting to do different things then this will only add to the confusion and is potentially dangerous. Fire extinguishers are common items that can deal with small fires. Bear in mind that different types of extinguisher are suitable for different types of fire and that using the wrong extinguisher can actually make a fire worse. Also, the standard fire extinguisher is only suitable for a small fire and should not be used to combat anything large. In the event of a large fire, the building must be evacuated and the emergency services contacted.