3 important fire safety precautions for your business

Fire safety precautions should always be top of mind for business owners. The United States Fire Administration said there were 96,800 non-residential building fires in 2016, which caused a staggering 145 deaths, 1550 injuries and more than $2 billion in property loss.1

Not only can fire severely damage your property, but it can also destroy your business equipment and inventory. Your top priority, of course, is ensuring your employees and customers are safe. As a business owner, you may want to consider obtaining commercial fire protection.

In the aftermath of April's fire in Trump Tower in New York City, business owners should review their buildings' fire risks and ensure that they have all the necessary safety mechanisms in place.2 In addition to consulting with your insurance agent about what type of fire-related insurance you need to protect your building, follow these three important fire safety precautions.


Assess your risk of fire hazard

Any business owner's goal, of course, is to prevent fires from happening in the first place.

Check out National Fire Protection Association to review the fire safety code for your type of business.3 You might also ask your community's fire marshal to visit and assess your fire prevention plan.

Minimize every fire hazard possible. This can include making sure office equipment works correctly and is replaced as needed. Be sure employees use safe cooking techniques in the building's kitchen, that there are never any open flames, and that pathways and exits are not blocked.4

Buy appropriate fire protection equipment

Your business's primary fire protection should be an automatic sprinkler system, which can extinguish a small fire before firefighters even arrive. These are proven to sometimes even save lives and property.

Every floor of your building should be equipped with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. It's a good idea to use multi-purpose extinguishers (unless your business requires a specific type) and to have them in multiple locations. You should also have first aid kits and flashlights on the premises.


Educate all employees on fire safety protocol

Do your employees know all your fire safety precautions? Make sure every employee knows how to sound the fire alarm, to call 911 immediately and how to evacuate the building. Conduct fire drills regularly so employees keep workplace fire safety protocol front of mind.

In a larger building, post your fire evacuation plan in several areas. Don't include elevators in an evacuation plan, as your employees should always use the stairs during a drill or actual fire.

Does your building have clearly marked fire escapes? Make sure your employees know not only how to exit the building during a fire but also where to meet once outside, so everyone can quickly be accounted for. Review this information regularly.

Assessing the risks, investing in commercial fire protection and proper fire safety equipment, and educating all employees on your building's fire safety plan will go far toward ensuring the safety of your business and your employees.

1. USFA FEMA. "Nonresidential Building Fire Trends (2007-2016)." May 2018. Accessed June 21,2018. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/nonres_bldg_fire_estimates.pdf
2. Ii, Louis Lucero, and Jaclyn Peiser. "Fire at Trump Tower Kills One, Police Say." The New York Times. April 07, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/07/nyregion/trump-tower-fire
3. "NFPA 1." NFPA. Accessed June 21, 2018. https://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/list-of-codes-and-standards/detail?code=1.
4."Fire Safety for Business Owners." Home and Workplace Fire Safety Tips and Risk Assessment in Illinois | United States Alliance Fire Protection, Inc. Accessed June 21, 2018. https://www.usafireprotectioninc.com/blog/2017/07/fire-safety-business-owners/.