Jan 28, 2020
What does it take to truly prepare for a fire?
Fire safety is beyond the traditional one-size-fits-all approach.
We all remember the elementary school safety mantra of"stop, drop, and roll." For many of us, that is where our fire safety training begins and ends. It's time for a comprehensive approach to your organization's plan in dealing with a potential fire. Do you have a plan for navigating the often complex layouts of every corner of your building and job site? Even thinking beyond the physical planning, is there a thriving safety culture in your organization that will be ready to respond in case of an emergency?
The first step in demonstrating safety leadership in fire preparation is getting your organization up to speed with a rundown of standard safety rules. This will close the knowledge gap of long-term employees with those who are new to the organization. This levels the playing field.
Aside from scheduled drills, how can fire-safety preparedness part of your everyday life within the company?
it's a good idea to start meetings and company gatherings by pointing out exits, fire alarms, fire extinguishers and the best paths of egress should an emergency arise.
Beyond the human factor, it's important to remember to inspect and upgrade the electric grid of your building at regular intervals. Electrical fires are a leading cause of destruction in industrial settings. When is the last time the electrical wiring was inspected or replaced? It might be time to move beyond basic repairs. Employees should be knowledgeable of the warning signs of an upcoming electrical fire including the sudden dimming of lights and an unusual hissing or sizzling sound.
Fire safety training is complex and requires more than a rubber-stamped one-size-fits-all approach to keep your entire organization safe.
While stop, drop, and roll! is an elementary school mantra and every homeowner has had to fan the fumes of a burnt pizza from the smoke detector, there's a serious gap in employees' fire safety knowledge between the home and the workplace. The more demanding the environment, the more comprehensive your fire safety strategy should be, and manufacturing facilities have a unique set of concerns.
From the corporate office to the plant floor, every part of the building must be considered before, during, and after the build-out process to ensure that your plans exceed compliance. Beyond the physical layout, promoting a culture that respects fire safety standards is key to a functional disaster plan.
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) maintains statistics for fire losses, injuries, and deaths for nonresidential buildings, including manufacturing and office environments. Between 2003 and 2017, an average of 5,180 fires broke out annually, attributed to everything from natural causes or, at both the #1 and #2 most common occurrences, equipment failure. These staggering statistics are a reminder that there is no such thing as a workplace that's too prepared, and that process starts from the ground up.