What are some tips to prevent fires in the office workplace?

In this post, we’re going to look at some of the easiest and best ways to prevent fires in an office.

Here are 8 top tips for fire protection in your office building.

Tip #1 Know who is in charge of fire protection in the building

Is there a point person who is responsible for fire protection in the building? By law, all commercial properties and businesses within Hamilton are required to have such a fire warden. If you’re the building owner, employer, or a building tenant the onus is on you to delegate this responsibility otherwise you’re in breach of the law.

As the owner of the property, you have a duty to comply with all fire codes and workplace safety regulations. This includes ensuring the building undergoes routine fire checks, assessments, and employees are up to date on fire safety best practices and evacuation protocols. And speaking of fire risk assessments…

Tip #2 Outline the main duties of the fire safety officer

In order for the delegated fire officer to perform their duties to the best of their abilities, these responsibilities have to be clearly defined.

In a nutshell, their tasks include conducting and supervising:

  • Fire risk assessments
  • Fire risk reductions
  • Fire alarm drills
  • Fire protection and safety equipment installations

Fire safety officers are especially important because they are the ones responsible for designing workplace-specific egress processes so that in the event of a fire emergency, people can quickly evacuate the building.

The appointed fire warden must be someone with a comprehensive knowledge of fire, the general outlay of the premises, and be up-to-date on compliance and fire safety matters.

The fastest way to bring your fire officer to speed with the latest fire safety industry requirements is to enroll them in select training offered by fire protection and safety technicians such as Nutech Fire Prevention.

Tip #3 Develop and practice emergency evacuation protocols

Once we’ve trained your fire safety officers, they’ll be confident in developing tailored emergency evacuation procedures. They’ll be equipped with the relevant skills to conduct practice drills with building occupants.

Their detailed egress plans will take into consideration the available exit routes in the building. They will also propose alternative exit routes depending on where tenants are within the premises.

Appropriate steps will be taken by the fire officer to ensure emergency lighting has also been installed along evacuation routes.

Tip #4 Select and install appropriate fire alarm systems for your building

Premium fire alarm systems go a long way in promoting fire safety at work and actually protecting the property. Make sure that your systems are ISO certified and professionally installed. If you’re not sure which fire alarms to choose, expert fire technicians can assist.

Reaching out to these professionals is also an effective way to get the most appropriate fire systems that complement your building. You’ll want a fire system that’s suitable for the type of work done in the building.

Warehouses storing volatile liquids will require fire suppression systems that are vastly different from those needed by workplaces occupied by office workers.

Professional installation will also guarantee proper function as and when needed – a consideration that leads us to the next tip regarding maintenance.

Tip #5 Schedule routine fire protection equipment maintenance

Having fire protection equipment installed is the first line of defence. However, all these systems must be maintained so that they’re always in good working condition.

Every fire protection system must undergo routine maintenance checks. This includes your:

  • Smoke alarms
  • Carbon dioxide detectors
  • Sprinklers 
  • Fire extinguishers 

Leave the more sophisticated assessments of sprinklers and alarm systems to professionals. Don’t allow unqualified fire officers to tamper with these professionally installed fire safety mechanisms.

Tip #6 Set up proper reporting channels for fire safety concerns

If there are fire safety issues employees need to report, where do they go? It’s imperative that proper reporting channels are established.

This will make it easier for building occupants to report missing fire protection such as fire extinguishers and call attention to obstructed exits and defective alarm systems.

It doesn’t have to be anything over the top. An email address and inbox managed by the fire officer will be enough.

Tip #7 Practice good housekeeping practices

According to the  Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General, the most common fire causes in workplaces are poor wiring, faulty equipment, heating and cooling mechanisms, chemical reactions, cigarettes, and open flames (e.g. burners, lighters, matches).

Practicing proper housekeeping will help reduce fire risk. This may look like 

  • Designating suitable fire-safe smoking areas
  • Efficient waste removal and waste management
  • Removal of elements blocking corridors and exit ways
  • Ensuring HVACs systems are routinely cleaned
  • Storing combustible and volatile chemicals properly
  • Removing old, frayed wiring and replacing it with new cabling
  • Replacing malfunctioning equipment

Tip #8 Clearly mount fire safety signage

Following on the heels of good housekeeping practices is the issue of prominently displaying fire safety signage around the building.

Such signage makes it easy for employees to know where to go, how to exit, and which path to follow in an emergency. Visual cues will provide the guidance needed to safely evacuate. 

What signs should you mount up?

  • Fire action notices – these explain to the reader what actions to take in case of fire
  • Fire exit signage – points and marks out the exit routes, doors as well as assembly points
  • Fire-fighting equipment signage – show where to find fire-fighting equipment like fire extinguishers
  • Cautionary signage – for example ‘No Smoking’ or ‘Danger’ signs

Want to learn more fire protection tips?

For businesses in Hamilton, Ontario keen on getting more information on workplace fire safety best practices look no further than Nutech Fire Prevention. We provide specialist help tailored to your workplace, occupation, and building needs.

In addition, we also provide, install and maintain emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, exit lighting, fire safety plans, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services for businesses and residents of Hamilton.

Request a free quote today.