If you work in an office you may have noticed that there are several potential fire hazards. This is likely to be the case in almost any workplace anywhere in the world and it's important to be aware of them. Of course, there are steps you can take to ensure that you keep your office safe and reduce the risk of it catching fire.
One of the easiest and most obvious things you can do to drastically cut the risk of fire is to use your head and think logically about where the hazards might be. Once you are aware of the high risk zones, you can take steps to avoid a fire breaking out. As an example, make sure any waste paper bins are not left full overnight. These bins are often stored near to printers and other electrical equipment, which can get very hot over time. The waste paper is a source of fuel and can cause a fire to spread very quickly.
Computers and other electrical equipment should be switched off overnight to minimise the risk of overheating. This can also help to save on your electricity bills as well. Any fluids should be kept away from electricals so ensure that used tea cups or other liquids are moved away from electrical equipment to reduce the risk of any spillages onto wiring.
Your office building needs to be built to protect it from fire and this often involves different things being considered in the early days of construction, although there are things that you can do after the building is completed. There are regulations for buildings that need to be followed to reduce the risk of fire including installing early warning alarm systems and sprinklers. Fire resistant paints, concrete block walls and fire doors are all standard fittings for public buildings to help reduce the risk of fire, or at least contain the spread of it in the event of a break out.
Although it is not technically a means of protecting your office, having a good escape routine planned out can save lives and may potentially stop the spread of a fire. An allocated fire meeting point away from the building needs to be created, as well as all staff being made aware of where the meeting point is. On top of that, you should have a fire officer who will be responsible for any evacuations.
You may wish to give your staff some training on how to use fire extinguishers as well, which could prove extremely beneficial for small fires that are easy to put out. Of course, you should ensure your staff are comfortable with doing this before giving them the training.
If you have any fire fighting equipment in your office, you should regularly check it to ensure it is still in good working order. Any fire extinguishers that are used should be replaced and sprinkler systems should be tested to ensure they are in good working order. On top of that, any smoke alarms should have the batteries checked to ensure they are working.
Any new members of staff should be taken through the evacuation procedure and the building should also undertake a full fire drill regularly to ensure everybody knows what they need to do and where they need to go.
Note: Lauren Sutton wrote this article on behalf of Westminster International security solutions.