Fire is the most common of all disasters. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), fire causes more than 4,000 deaths, 25,000 injuries and property losses of more than $8 billion each year. Communicating and testing a comprehensive emergency plan with your staff will help minimize loss to your business. Some first steps you can take toward creating your plan are to have personnel trained in CPR, first aid and compile an easily accessible emergency kit. FEMA, OSHA and NIOSH have published recommendations on building fire preparedness plans.
- Make sure all wiring is inspected by a qualified electrician and is in good operating condition.
- Store flammable liquids in approved containers and cabinets in well-
ventilated storage areas away from heat and spark sources.
- If open flames are used, make sure they are kept away from walls, insulation and other flammable items.
- If you use flammable chemicals in your facility, make sure all employees working with them know and abide by all applicable fire standards.
- Install smoke alarms and test them. Consult with your local fire department or other regulatory bodies for guidance regarding fire codes.
- Make sure fire escape routes and ladders are clearly marked, accessible, and in working order. Never block any fire exit.
- Make sure the proper type of fire extinguishers are easily accessible and that all employees are trained on proper use.
- Check local codes for automatic sprinkler systems and install accordingly.
- Conduct fire drills regularly.
- Do not return to the building until it is cleared by local authorities.
- If you detect any remaining heat or smoke or see any sparks, evacuate immediately and contact fire officials.
- Secure your business from looting. Work with your insurance company immediately to provide a full report on the incident.
- Work with experts in fire recovery and remediation for all repairs. Have them inspected by local fire authorities upon completion.
Emergency Management Programs