Poor workplace fire prevention practices, lack of comprehensive fire safety plans, and thorough hazard audits have led to the injury and deaths of numerous employees over the years.
The most recent statistics from the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General (OMSG) tell us that in 2019, 13% of all loss fires occurred in a place of work or business.
5% of these fires took place in industrial occupancies, 3% in assembly occupancies, 2% in mercantile occupancies, 2% in business and personal services occupancies, and 1% in care and detention centers.
Many of these fires could have been avoided with better fire safety plans.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the top things to include in fire safety plans for your employees. Before we do, however, let’s go back to the very beginning and talk about these safety plans. What is a fire safety plan anyway?
What is a Fire Safety Plan?
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) gives us a concise definition of a fire safety plan:
“It is a detailed document that covers all aspects of fire safety for a specific building or property.”
It is worth noting that fire safety plans are uniquely tailored to buildings although they may be generated from a template.
Furthermore, every fire safety plan must contain an outline of the following:
· Directions on how building occupants are supposed to leave in the event of a fire
· Building maintenance requirements and methods to prevent fires
· Best practices to reduce fire damage should a fire break out
Fire safety plans are not suggestions but are mandated by law via the provincial Fire Code – i.e. the Ontario Fire Code. If you’d like to revise your current building fire safety plan you can always contact a fire specialist or your local fire department.
Things to Include in Your Fire Safety Plan
Now that we know what fire safety plans are, here is what you should include in your own building-specific fire safety plan.
1. Emergency Procedures
A lot more people are injured than necessary because of ignorance. With the right knowledge, fire incidents would result in far fewer injuries and fatalities.
Employees must be aware of fire safety protocol during emergencies. Do they know:
· How to sound the alarm?
· How to alert the fire department?
· How to safely evacuate from the premises?
· How to assist those in need of evacuation assistance?
· How to extinguish small fires?
· How to control and confine fire?
The following emergency numbers and address must be displayed next to phones and be legible:
Fire Department: ________________
2. Employee Fire Drill Routines
For companies that deal with flammable chemicals and equipment, it is recommended to have fire drills every three months. For other businesses, fire drills may be organized twice per year.
Fire drills will show you how prepared your employees are when the fire alarm goes off.
They act as a preventive measure that seeks to instruct employees on evacuation plans. Knowing how to exit the building quickly and safely can be the difference between life and death.
3. Fire Warden/Staff Fire Safety Training Protocols
Fire safety plans are to also include any and all educational and training information for staff that has been assigned fire safety obligations.
Their duties and responsibilities and how they are to carry them out are to be outlined clearly. How fire safety education and training for these staff members will be conducted needs to be written out in fire safety plans.
Designated fire wardens must be able to answer the following questions comfortably:
· Do they know the fire escape plan?
· Do they know the chosen meeting place in the event of a fire?
· Do they know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher?
· Do they know the location of the nearest fire alarm station?
· Do they know the location of the nearest two exits?
· Who needs to be notified in the event of an emergency?
· Who are the mobility-impaired employees on their teams?
It is imperative that this information be made public so the building owner and employees are on the same page about fire safety.
4. Fire Hazard Preventative Measures
Fire safety plans should contain information about the necessary steps needed to prevent and control fire hazards within the building.
If you’re not sure what fire hazards exist onsite, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a fire specialist who will conduct a hazard audit.
Depending on the type of business done on the premise, fire hazards could be anything from combustible substances to electrical appliances/wiring.
5. Building Fire Systems Maintenance Procedures
Statistics reveal that there are more deaths within premises that don’t have functional fire systems than within buildings with well-maintained fire prevention systems. That is why it is critical to develop a routine maintenance schedule because it’s not enough to have a fire safety system installed, it must work at all times.
All fire systems must be tested – fire alarms, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, emergency exit lighting, and fire hoses.
After your hazard audit, the fire specialist who conducted your building audit can devise a routine maintenance plan for your property.
Illustrations of these fire emergency systems must also be present in the fire safety plans.
The Bottom Line
Fire safety plans help to create a safer workplace by potentially reducing fire-related injuries and fatalities.
Every time a building is renovated or remodelled, fire safety should be a key consideration. If your fire safety plan is outdated or your building has been recently refurbished, now is a good time to book an appointment with Nutech Fire Prevention.
We also offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services.
Request a free quote today.