Fires are the leading cause of home injuries and death. Most of us have seen the tremendous power of fires, including the devastating fires in California this week. October 8-14 is National Fire Prevention week and their theme this year is “Every Second Counts,” focusing on the need to have an emergency plan in the event of a fire, either at home or in the work place. Do you have a fire safety plan in place for your home and your workplace?
The best way to practice fire safety is to make sure one doesn’t break out in the first place. This means being aware of potential hazards in your home or workplace. Start by keeping the following tips in mind:
Check all electrical appliances, cords and outlets. Make sure they are all in working condition, without loose or frayed cords or plugs. Avoid “daisy chaining” with extension cords and power strips to extend cords.
Use caution with portable heaters. Never place one where a person or pet could accidentally knock it over, and keep it at least three feet away from flammable objects.
Be careful in the home kitchen or office break room. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Always practice safe cooking habits, such as turning pot handles to avoid being knocked over, and supervising children while cooking.
Check your fireplaces or wood stoves. They should be kept clean and covered with a screen to keep sparks contained. Burn only wood in a home fireplace and never leave a fire burning unattended.
Beware of cigarettes. They are the number one cause of fire deaths in the U.S. Most are started when ashes or butts fall into couches or chairs, so use caution if you smoke in your home.
Use candles safely. Keep them out of the reach of children, away from curtains and furniture, and extinguish them before you leave the room. Do not allow children to use candles when unsupervised by an adult.
Be aware of holiday dangers. If you use a cut Christmas tree, be sure to keep it watered daily, and inspect all lights yearly for worn or frayed cords. Check it regularly to make sure it is not drying out, and if you have a Christmas tree in the office, be sure you are complying with all fireproofing regulations.
Create a Fire Safety Plan
Make your home and office fire safe by following these tips:
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home or office, and in individual rooms where possible.
Use the smoke alarm’s test button to check it every month and replace the batteries at least once a year. Make sure everyone knows and recognizes the sound of the smoke alarm or fire alarm.
Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
Have at least one working fire extinguisher in your home or office. Local fire regulations may require additional fire extinguishers and other fire prevention devices, such as sprinklers or other automatic fire suppression systems, in your workplace. As part of your emergency training, teach employees how and when to use a fire extinguisher properly.
Plan escape routes by determining at least two ways to escape from every room. Conduct fire drills, both at home and at work to ensure everyone is aware of the escape routes. If you have children, plan to attend a fire department open house, so they can learn what a fully outfitted firefighter looks like to help them not be afraid or hide in the event of a fire.
Teach everyone to stay low to the floor while escaping a fire and to never open doors that are hot.
Select a safe location outside your home or office where everyone should meet, and practice your escape plan at least twice a year so everyone knows it well.
In the Event of a Fire Emergency
Take quick action
During a fire emergency, you must be aware of your responsibilities to protect yourself and others. If you or another person smells or sees fire, follow these guidelines:
Call 911 immediately while another co-worker notifies other employees.
Go directly to the nearest fire-free exit and smoke-free stairwell (the only available exit may contain a small amount of smoke or fire). Never use an elevator.
Crawl low, under the smoke, to breathe cleaner air.
Test doors for heat before opening them by placing the back of your hand against the door so you do not burn your palm or fingers. If the door is hot, do not open it. Find another exit instead. If a door feels cool, open it slowly and brace yourself against the door.
Listen for instructions over the building’s public-address system if there is one.
Report to the designated meeting place outside as outlined your Emergency Plan, and never re-enter the building until the authorities allow you to do so.
If you need additional resources for developing a fire prevention and safety plan for your workplace, contact one of our business insurance specialists at [email protected].
And of course, have you checked your fire insurance policy recently to make sure you are properly insured in the event of a fire? Our business insurance specialists will be happy to give you a complimentary insurance review to make sure you have the right insurance for your needs. You can arrange for an insurance review by emailing them at [email protected] or calling them at 303-721-1145.