Fire emergencies in the workplace are more likely than you would think. As such, you must ensure that you have the right fire safety equipment and adequate evacuation procedure plans in place so that your staff can get out safely.
In this article, we have listed out the necessary fire safety equipment every workplace should have so that you can be well-prepared for any fire emergencies on the premise.
Fire alarms act as an early warning system against potential fires in your workplace, giving you time to put out the fire or evacuate anyone on the premises.
Smoke alarm systems such as wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms can quite literally be a lifesaver. These alarms work automatically and are linked together; if one alarm is triggered, it will also activate the others to alert occupants.
It’s vital that your workplace has reputable smoke alarms in places, such as HomeGuard smoke alarms or Lifesaver smoke alarms, as cutting corners on fire safety can lead to disastrous consequences.
Not all fire extinguishers can handle every type of fire, but a fire blanket can quickly extinguish a small flame by smothering it and removing its oxygen supply.
Any fire blanket you purchase must be made of flame-retardant material and placed close to sources of potential fires, such as an office break room. To use a fire blanket, refer to the instruction graphics on the front closely, but as a general guide:
- If possible, turn off any gas/electricity supply causing the fire (or immediately afterwards once the fire is out).
- Open up the fire blanket and grip it firmly.
- Wrap the top edges of the blanket around your hands for protection against burns.
- Cover the flames with the blanket and ensure the entire area is covered.
Apart from having fire extinguishers at appropriate places (escape routes and high-risk locations), do note that there are also six classes of fire hazards, ranging from Class A to Class F, each requiring a specific type of extinguisher. So be sure to get the right one for your workplace situation.
Sprinklers are an effective fire suppression system that automatically activates when temperatures exceed the norm.
Properly setting up a sprinkler system for your workplace can take time because the system requires water pumps and piping, but they are invaluable for saving both lives and property during a fire.
Be sure to install your sprinklers in places with sufficient clearance to ensure that they can cover the widest area possible without being obstructed.
Fire Exit Signs & Emergency Exits
During an emergency, there should be visible fire exit signs that can guide people to the nearest exit for evacuation. These signs must have “Exit” written clearly on the front and reliable light with a backup power supply in case of a power failure.
It is critical to be aware of where your nearest exit signs are so that you can locate them in an emergency.
Apart from fire exit signs, emergency lighting also plays a key part in evacuating people from the building.
When installing emergency lighting, ensure they are present at individual escape doors, corridor intersections, emergency escape signs, lifts, and areas on premises greater than 60m².
As smoke tends to rise to the ceiling, you will want to have the emergency lighting close to the ground where it is the least obstructed by smoke for the best visibility.
Any emergency lighting you have needs a backup battery in case of power outages. Emergency lighting needs to stay operational for a full hour after the mains have cut off. It must also be functional for up to three hours in places with sleeping accommodation.
First Aid Kit
It’s important to have a first-aid kit on standby in case of accidental burns. That being said, for a full-fledged emergency, it is better to quickly evacuate everyone and then tend to any injuries that people may have.
Most workplaces should have a first aid kit available, but it should be periodically checked to see if it has its full contents, as individuals may not have replaced some items over the time it’s been used.
It is therefore vital to replace any items in a first aid kit that have been used or have expired to ensure that your workplace has the right tools to treat any injuries that may occur on the premise.
Prepare Your Workplace Accordingly
A safe work environment requires the appropriate cautionary and safety measures to be firmly in place in case of a fire emergency. Have the right fire emergency equipment, and run through occasional fire safety drills to prepare your staff for potential emergencies to ensure the safety and security of you and your employees.