If fire breaks out in your office, responding promptly and effectively can keep your employees safe and prevent damage to the premises and valuable equipment. As a business owner responsible for the safety of your employees, drawing up and sharing a fire safety plan with your team and your city fire protective service is essential. You might already have a fire contingency plan to help minimize the effects of a fire and get your business up and running again. However, this is very different from a fire safety plan.
As a general rule, a fire safety plan provides relevant information about a building’s layout, its fire protection systems and equipment, and its emergency evacuation procedures. If you don’t own the building, the owner should hopefully have a fire plan that you can review and adapt for your business. However, to ensure you’re following best practice, contact your local fire prevention department for a template or guidelines on layout and content.
The plan should include floor plans that show evacuation routes from each floor, along with fire exits, places of refuge and external meeting points. An additional floor plan designed to aid the fire department should show fire protection systems, and include a description of the building, along with potential access issues for fire fighters. The plan should also specify how the fire alarm system operates and whether it communicates directly with your local fire service as well as the nature of fire protection equipment, such as extinguishers and sprinklers, and the location of standpipe and hose systems. There are normally additional requirements for tall buildings and industrial units.
An important element of your plan is an up-to-date list of your staff, contractors and visitors on site, enabling an audit in the event of a fire. This list can also indicate team members with specified fire safety responsibilities. To ensure all employees are aware of your fire safety plan and what to do if they discover a fire, make this part of onboarding, and carry out regular drills help ensure all your employees become familiar with evacuation routes.
Putting together a fire safety plan might feel like a chore, but there are no short cuts when it comes to safeguarding your people and your livelihood. A well-thought-out plan gives everyone peace of mind and helps the fire service do its job effectively.