Business owners don't maintain fire safety equipment so they can stay in the good graces of inspectors. The goal is to ensure that every employee has the opportunity to safely exit the building if a fire should break out. That means making sure that the preparation for a possible fire must be complete. Here are five things you need to keep in mind when coming up with the right fire safety plan.
Investing in the Right Type of Alarm
The basis for all your decisions about fire safety equipment must be the choice of a viable alarm system. Opt for one that is capable of detecting the presence of smoke as well as heat. This ensures that the alarms installed in areas like server rooms and offices will be sure to pick up on all signs of activity.
Settling on the Number and Placement of Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers may seem old school to some, but they are essential to any viable safety strategy. An expert can help you determine how many extinguishers are right for your place of business, and where they can be positioned to best advantage. You'll also have guidelines for having the units checked to ensure they are still fully functional.
Overhead Sprinklers are Part of the Plan
You still want overhead sprinklers for protection in many areas of the workspace. The exception is areas where spraying water is likely to make things worse instead of better. In those areas, some type of heads that emit a gas that helps to minimize the supply of oxygen to the flames would be a better choice. Many fire alarm companies have resources that can help you decide what sort of sprinklers or other heads to place in each area.
Exit Signs are a Must
Exit signs as well as directional signs are key to making sure employees can follow designated paths to exit the building. Backlit exit signs are especially helpful, since they stand out more even if the smoke is beginning to obscure the way. Place directional signs high on walls so those who are making their way to the exits can see them above the smoke and not lose precious seconds wondering which direction to turn.
Fire Drills are Part of the Plan
It's not enough to work with a fire alarm company to install the right equipment and to create a chart showing the ways to reach the exits. Just as in schools, employees should go through fire drills once in a while. The goal is to ensure everyone understands which exit to use depending on where the fire is located, and how to get to a designated safe spot outside the building for a head count if a real fire does break out.
Don't make assumptions about preparations for fire safety. Talk to a professional who can evaluate the layout of the office, come up with a solid plan for protecting employees and property, and follow through with those recommendations. All it takes is one fire to make the investment in the equipment and the design of an exit strategy worth the cost and the effort.