Of all the dreams you have had about your business over the years, perhaps your worst nightmare would be if your facility went up in smoke. Fire is one of the most common causes of property damage; it can also be one of the most costly incidents for a small business. Approximately 10% of small businesses are affected by a fire, and the average cost for a fire claim is $35,000, according to The Hartford.
To protect your business, it’s key to 1) educate your employees on fire safety and emergency protocol, 2) keep your workplace free from clutter, and 3) properly maintain your equipment, and 4) comply with local codes. These fire prevention tips from Restoration 1 of Durham–Greensboro can help keep your business safe.
You must have an appropriate fire-detection and warning system in place. Ensure it is able to warn all people in the building by having it serviced regularly. Consider installing a sprinkler system or fire suppression system to extinguish fires before the fire department arrives. If you’re operating a restaurant, for example, you should have a UL 300-compliant wet chemical fire suppression system, and follow the NFPA 96 standard for ventilation and fire protection.
With a smaller business property, you may only need one or two portable extinguishers. However, larger, more complex premises may require a number of portable extinguishers situated in suitable locations. It may be necessary to show the location of fire extinguishers with suitable signs.
Train employees on how to properly use the tools; most people have never operated a fire extinguisher; basic training can save lives during a fire emergency.
Buildings and equipment wear down over time; fire resistant materials can become less effective. A scheduling system should be developed to ensure that qualified professionals such as contractors, electricians, or certified inspectors are performing annual checks. For high-risk equipment, supplement with operator logs, in-house maintenance and surprise checks.
Faulty equipment is a common cause of electrical fires. Make sure your machines and equipment are in proper working order. Clean tools and equipment regularly to ensure they’re functioning properly and are safe to use.
Keep your workspace as clutter-free as possible: boxes, piles of paper, packing material, other combustible material. Keep electrical appliances (microwaves, toasters, coffeemakers) away from paper or other fuel sources. Give computers and other equipment space for air to circulate.
A fire on your business property must be detected quickly and a fire warning given so that people can escape safely. Create an emergency exit plan, and practice fire drills with your employees. Make sure emergency exit doors have proper signage and are well-lit. Employees should always have ready access to at least two exits. Regularly check stairwells to ensure that nothing is blocking them.
Ensure the place to which you are evacuating, known as the muster point, is safe and accessible to all.
Some businesses are at high risk of fire damage not because of what they do, but where they’re located. Durham’s fabulous trees can create a hazard of dry vegetation. In areas prone to wildfires, keep trees and brush from growing next to your building, and remove dry grass that’s within 100 feet of any structure.
No matter the level of destruction to your home or business, you should always consult with licensed and trained industry professionals to address smoke or fire damage before you move forward with restoration and repairs. The team at Restoration 1 also provides support after a fire, as well as emergency services, storm damage services, and sewage system cleanup.
Our team is well equipped and fully trained to handle your commercial fire damage in Durham.
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