Between 2013 and 2014, the United Kingdom’s Fire and Rescue services were called out to 212,500 incidents, a 10% increase from the previous period. The primary cause of these incidents has been attributed to smoking materials with 38% of deaths coming as a result of cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco. A further 41% were killed by overexposure to noxious gases with another 20% also being subjected to fatal burns.
In non-residential buildings (such as offices), fire accidents numbered 22,000: a significant decrease when compared to a decade prior. Although these figures continue to fall, fire safety should be a top priority until there are no incidents recorded in any year.
If you’re trying to ensure that your workplace is safe from fire accidents, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure you go some way towards making it happen.
1. Carry out risk assessments
Fire can be a creeping danger or it can arrive all of a sudden. To stay ahead of any potential dangers posed by a blaze, it’s important to know where your organisation is most vulnerable. Conducting risk assessments is a proven way of identifying hazards and figuring out what steps you need to take next.
2. Know your fire extinguishers
The ability to distinguish between fire extinguishers should be viewed as an essential for all employees. Some extinguishers can be ineffective or even worsen the blaze if used on a particular type of fire. For instance, a water extinguisher will not be suitable for electrical fires and a powder extinguisher is also not suited for metal fires.
3. Keep your fire exits clear
Running out of space in a modern office is understandable, but under no circumstances should your fire exits be obstructed. In case of fire, employees should be able to exit the building with no difficulties – storing goods in your fire exit area is one of the quickest ways to endanger the lives of your workforce.
4. Fire drills
Although the shock of hearing a fire alarm might not be pleasant to most, conducting fire drills should be an essential for all managers. These help to figure out exactly who would falter in a real-life situation, whether it’s because they have forgotten their training or otherwise, and also aids in reminding your workforce of their responsibilities.
5. Check your fire alarms
As mentioned, nobody loves the sound of a blaring fire alarm on an unforgiving Monday morning. However, when checking whether they’re in working order or not could mean life or death, it’s a sacrifice most employees should be willing to make. If fire alarms aren’t in operational order, they should be fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
There are many more things you ought to do to ensure your workplace is as safe as possible from the effects of fire. Safety Media offer our Fire Safety e-Learning course, DVD, poster andbooklet to help you and your organisation to prepare. Find out more by calling +44 (0)1745 535000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org