Fire Prevention Checklist for Commercial Properties
If you are an employer or owner of a commercial property, it's your responsibility to ensure the safety of your workforce and customers and to protect the equipment and property from the dangers of workplace fires.
While many people believe that fires only start in kitchens, cooking accounts for less than a third of non-residential fires on average. With causes varying from electrical malfunction and heating to appliances, equipment failure and downright carelessness, practically every commercial property is at risk of a fire breaking out.
The good news is, there are a range of preventative measures you can have in place to make sure fire doesn’t rip through your commercial property. Read on for our six-point fire prevention checklist…
First and foremost, every commercial property needs fully functional fire and smoke alarms. Your alarms should be tested annually to make sure they’re always on stand by when needed.
On top of that, you need to have suitable types of alarms for the site in question. Ionization smoke alarms detect flaming fires, photoelectric alarms are better for smouldering fires, and heat alarms are ideal for areas where high heat is normal.
When fires do break out, sprinklers are an effective way to stop them spreading and reduce the overall damage. Again, these should be properly inspected on a regular basis. They’ll need to be free from obstruction and connected to a reliable water supply at all times.
Similarly, fire extinguishers allow people with the right training to put out small fires and potentially stop them spreading altogether. Over time, rust, corrosion and general knocks and bumps can cause damage to extinguishers, so it’s well worth checking them regularly too. They’ll need to be easily accessible, and ideally located near the highest-risk areas.
It’s not just about putting fires out and stopping the spread. Commercial properties should also be equipped with the right lighting to help people get out of the building. That means clear signs above emergency exits and lighting to illuminate the exit route. This should have a backup power source to ensure it’s not deactivated by the fire itself. It will also be critical for firefighters entering the building if necessary.
Storage is another important point on our fire prevention checklist. Even the smallest fire can turn catastrophic with the help of flammable materials. With that in mind, combustible liquids should be stored correctly in a fireproof cabinet. This will stop them catching fire for between 30-120 minutes, providing more time for the building to be evacuated or the fire to be extinguished.
Last but certainly not least is training. All staff should be fully versed in the evacuation procedures with fire drills held at least once a year. You should also appoint fire marshals who are responsible for ensuring emergency procedures are followed.
On top of that, you can reduce the risk of fires breaking out by training staff in simple fire safety practices. Let’s not forget that 11.5% of non-residential fires are due to carelessness, 3.7% are down to equipment misoperation and 2.1% caused by smoking – all easily avoidable with better awareness.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Nobody ever regrets getting their fire alarms or emergency lighting checked. On the other hand, there are plenty of people out there who will tell you they’d love a chance to go back in time and take a proactive approach.
At Selectron, we provide a range of fire alarms and emergency lighting products that can keep your commercial site prepared for the worst-case scenario. With professional installation and maintenance from our expert team, you can rest assured your property, contents and staff are safe all year round.