Fire hazards are present in most, if not all offices, however, there are steps one can take to fireproof an office and prevent fires from happening even if your budget does not allow hiring a professional to do the job.
Preparation for danger situations is a key factor in fire safety. All employees should know fire escape routes, how to activate the fire alarm, the locations of stairway exits, and practice fire drills periodically. Combustible materials such as paper should be stored properly, and should not be stacked up. Properly installed sprinkler systems (AS2118) and fire detectors (AS1670) in the storage area.
Typical office equipment such as copiers, coffee makers and hot plates, are often overlooked as a potential heat-generating fire hazards. It is important to keep them away from anything flammable. Additionally, be mindful of the condition this equipment is kept in. Poor quality or defective appliances have a bigger chance of developing electrical shorts leading to shock hazards and fires. Office fires can start as a result of electricity malfunction or misuse. Properly maintaining the electrical system provides maximum safety and is an important step in fire prevention. Be careful not to overload electrical outlets and minimize the use of extension cords. Avoid running extension cords across walkways as it can pose a potential tripping hazard. If there is no other option tape it to the floor.
First Line of Defence
Smoke detectors are your first line of defense, and should be properly installed and maintained frequently. Be sure to test smoke detectors (AS1851). It is also recommended to install an office sprinkler system to fight fire as soon as it ignites. The type of sprinkler system depends on the office environment, you need to contact a fire suppression expert to know what is the right application for you. Fire extinguishers are another important to have on hand even if you have a sprinkler system. Acquire and maintain a sufficient number of extinguishers and make sure that everybody who works in your office knows where the extinguishers are installed, what the fire safety signage means, how to properly operate them.
Quick Tips to Prevent Office Fires
- Heat-generating equipment should be kept away from combustibles such as paper
- Properly use electrical equipment
- Install smoke detectors, sprinkler system, and fire extinguishers and maintain them frequently.
- Always store valuables in a fireproof cabinet or safe.
Yours in Fire Safety