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6 Fire Safety Mistakes Businesses Make

6 Fire Safety Mistakes Businesses Make

Posted 6/25/2023

Alt Title: Businesses: Are You Making These 6 Common Fire Safety Mistakes?


As a business, you might assume that the fire safety plan you came up with 15 years ago will suffice in an emergency situation. However, that may not be the case. A lot has changed over the years and you need to rethink your approach so that you don’t make costly mistakes.


Fires, Businesses, and the True Cost of Doing Nothing


In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 145 workers. In the direct aftermath of this incident, dozens of new fire regulations were ushered in to promote worker safety. And over the 100-plus years since, the fire safety industry has seen significant developments. But unfortunately, fires still occur and they’re still very costly.


There are approximately 200 workplace fires every single day in the United States. These fires cause 5,000 injuries per year (or roughly 100 per week). Research shows that fires cost U.S. businesses more than $328 billion in annual costs each year. And OSHA estimates the typical litigation costs a company incurs after a fire incident to be between $10 to $15 million (average).


Workplace fires can be caused by any number of factors, including natural disasters, combustible materials, electrical incidents, oil and gas explosions, and kitchen equipment malfunctions. Addressing these risks is the first step. Understanding what to do if a fire does occur is the second. Unfortunately, many businesses mess up on both fronts.


6 Fire Safety Mistakes Your Business Should Avoid


Fire safety is a critical aspect of running a business. Unfortunately, many businesses make simple mistakes that can have serious consequences. To shine a light on these issues, let’s highlight the top fire safety mistakes that businesses should avoid making to keep their employees and properties safe.


  1. Neglecting fire alarms and fire suppression systems: One of the most common mistakes businesses make is not having adequate fire alarms and fire suppression systems installed. Regular testing and maintenance of these systems are critical to ensure that they work when needed.


  1. Lack of fire evacuation plans: In the event of a fire, it's essential to have a well-established fire evacuation plan in place. This plan should include escape routes, meeting points, and procedures for alerting employees and calling 911.


If you’ve never developed a fire evacuation plan, it starts with conducting a risk assessment. You’ll want to identify potential fire hazards in your workplace and assess the risk of a fire occurring. This will help you determine the necessary fire safety measures and evacuation procedures for your business.


From here, you map out evacuation routes by drawing a clear map of your workplace and identifying the best evacuation routes for each area. Make sure to consider the layout of your building, including stairways, exits, and fire escapes.


  1. Poor housekeeping practices: Messy and cluttered workspaces can create a fire hazard and make it difficult for employees to evacuate in an emergency. Ensure that work areas are clean, organized, and free of flammable materials.


  1. Ignoring electrical safety: Electrical equipment and wiring are major causes of fires in the workplace. Ensure that all electrical equipment is properly maintained and that wiring is installed and maintained to code.


  1. Not training employees: Employees need to know what to do in the event of a fire, including how to evacuate and how to use fire suppression equipment. Regular fire safety training is essential to ensure that everyone knows what to do.


Fire safety training is more than just making employees watch a stale video with poorly-scripted instructions on how to ‘stop, drop, and roll.’ You need to demonstrate fire suppression equipment, train each employee on their responsibility in the moment, and run through drills to ensure everyone is on the same page.


Regular fire drills are an excellent way to test evacuation plans and ensure that employees know what to do in the event of a fire. They also help to identify areas for improvement in your fire safety plan. Be open to feedback and regularly evaluate your training to ensure it’s as effective as it can be. 


  1. Failing to contain flammable materials: Flammable materials such as chemicals, fuels, and solvents need to be stored safely to prevent fire hazards. Here are some very basic tips to get you started (but always talk to a professional to develop a strategy that’s tailored to your company’s individual needs):


  • Store flammable liquids in containers that are specifically designed for this purpose and meet local fire codes. The containers should be labeled and clearly marked with the type of flammable liquid stored inside.


  • Flammable materials should be stored away from heat sources, such as heaters, sparks, and flames. Store flammable liquids in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight.


  • Store flammable materials in a secure area that is accessible only to authorized personnel. This will minimize the risk of accidental exposure to flammable materials.


  • Store only the minimum amount of flammable liquids necessary for your business operations. Excessive amounts of flammable liquids can increase the risk of fire.


  • Keep flammable liquids in fire-resistant cabinets that are designed to contain fires. These cabinets are made of fire-resistant materials and have fire-resistant doors to prevent the spread of fire.


  • When necessary, use explosion-proof equipment, such as explosion-proof lights and electrical equipment, in areas where flammable liquids are stored. This will prevent sparks and other ignition sources from causing a fire.


Again, you’ll need to consult with specialists to determine the best approach for the types of materials you’re storing, as well as the environment you’re in and the risks you face.


Let Cease Fire Protect Your Business


At Cease Fire, we make it easy for businesses to neutralize the threat of fire by introducing cost-effective and simple fire suppression systems. Our systems don’t require extensive setup or maintenance. This makes it easy to integrate an effective fire suppression solution into both new and existing buildings.


Want more information on how you can protect your business with pre-engineered fire suppression technology? Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to walk you through all of your options!