When you go home after a long day’s work, you should feel free to focus on your family, not the safety of your business. Unfortunately, there are risks every business must contend with. Fires can happen any hour of the day, but there are steps you can take each day to reduce that risk.
Listed below are 5 tips you and your employees can use to reduce the chances of a fire after your business closes for the day:
Operate a clean business. This means having a clean work environment throughout your building. Clutter near an ignition source can easily become a spark that could ignite a fire. Once a fire starts, it can be quickly spread by items on the floor or overstuffed shelves and storage areas. Keeping these areas clean and organized will help with work productivity and can reduce the potential of something unexpected happening. It is also important to make sure you keep all equipment well maintained and clean. Blocked ventilation or residue buildup can create a hazardous situation that could result in a fire. Dust itself is very flammable and can ignite under the right conditions,
Unplug all small appliances, charging mobile devices, and decorations every night. Be sure to unplug any space heaters, coffee makers, crock pots, and fans before leaving for the day. If it is holiday time and you have lights or decorations, make sure they are all turned off before exiting. Many businesses now use mobile devices to complete tasks, and leaving them charging unattended can be a fire hazard. Make sure these items are in a secured area and all proper precautions are taken if it is deemed necessary for them to remain charging overnight.
Inspect your kitchen area every day. If your business has a kitchen area or break room, check to make sure all cooking appliances are turned off nightly and any food left out is disposed of properly. Set the expectation that the kitchen area is cleaned daily and kept well maintained. The more organized the kitchen, the less risk you have for an accidental ignition. A best practice is to assign a person every night to walk the area and validate everything looks good. It is also a good idea to formally document this inspection using some type of log or sign-off form.
Train your employees on fire safety. Ensure your employees know proper fire safety practices and understand their behavior is key to supporting a risk-free environment. All the above tips require employees to help monitor and act responsibly. For many businesses, the same employees don’t close each night, so it is critical that everyone knows how to walk the business and resolve any concerns before leaving. Consider creating a closing checklist that employees can use as a reminder on what to look for and how to secure any potential risks.
Check your heating and cooling systems regularly. Whether you live in a hot or cold climate, there is a good chance your environmental systems will kick in overnight at some point. Having clean air filters and properly serviced systems will reduce the chances of something going wrong when no one is around. It helps to be proactive, so make sure your heating system is ready to go long before those cold nights arrive.
Regardless of what precautions you take, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. This includes having a proper fire alarm and fire protection system. It is also important to ensure you have an organized evacuation plan and complete drills regularly. Being prepared is the best way to protect your business and your employees from any unexpected risks, and being prepared is no accident.