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How to Prepare Your Employees for a Fire Emergency

Posted on: February 22, 2018

No one expects a fire to break out in their building, but these types of emergencies strike businesses across the country every day. You, your employees, and your customers could be forced to evacuate at a moment’s notice, so it is vital to ensure your team is ready in case disaster strikes your building.

Create an Emergency Action Plan

Compiling an emergency action plan—which outlines the responsibilities of your employees during a fire or another emergency—is an effective way to prepare for an unexpected disaster. While you should tailor your plan to meet the specific conditions of your building, here are the types of things every emergency action plan should include:

  • Escape route diagrams: Highlight primary and secondary exits, accessible routes for those with disabilities, and exterior assembly areas. Also, label manual fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, standpipe stations, and fire alarm controls inside the building as well as fire lanes and fire hydrants on the exterior.
  • Evacuation policies and procedures: The plan should outline evacuation routes, crowd control techniques, procedures for assisting people with disabilities, and preferred methods for reporting fires to the fire department.
  • Responsibilities of specific staff members: Decide whether to instruct employees to use fire extinguishers or evacuate immediately. Specify rescue and medical duties if any workers are designated to perform them. Assign a specified person to stay behind and conduct or shut down critical plant operations, if applicable.

How Can I Train My Employees to Prevent a Fire?

While preparedness is essential in a fire emergency, the proper preventative training may keep a fire from igniting in the first place. Teach your team to do the following:

  • Keep up with maintenance, such as cleaning a commercial kitchen’s exhaust hoods based on the required schedule to reduce flammable grease buildup.
  • Store flammable items such as paper products, linens, and boxes away from heat sources and cooking surfaces.
  • Ensure ample ventilation when using cleaning products and other chemicals in areas with heat sources.
  • Dispose of cardboard boxes and wood pallets daily so they don’t pile up.
  • Smoke outdoors and dispose of cigarette butts properly.
  • Keep hallways and emergency exits clear in case an evacuation must occur.

How Can I Train My Employees to Respond to a Fire Emergency?

Educate every team member to follow your emergency action plan. Make sure everyone knows their individual responsibilities if a fire occurs. Then, provide additional training and practice to prepare your employees for a fire emergency:

  • Fire extinguisher training: If you want any or all of your employees to use a fire extinguisher to douse the flames before they evacuate the building, you must provide hands-on training. Confires offers OSHA-approved fire extinguisher training for businesses in the Trenton, New Jersey and Wilmington, Delaware areas.
  • Shutdown procedures: If you assign a specific employee to stay behind and shut down critical building operations, be sure to train them on how to do so. It’s also imperative for the person assigned to this task to recognize when to abandon the operation and evacuate to safety.
  • Fire drills: The best way to ensure your emergency action plan sticks with your employees is to conduct routine fire drills. This gives your team a chance to practice their roles and responsibilities and iron out any mistakes so they’re ready in case a real disaster strikes.

Get Assistance Preparing Your Employees for a Fire Emergency

Confires provides superior fire protection services in New Jersey and Delaware. We can outfit your building with the fire protection equipment you need to optimize safety in an emergency. We can also assist with developing an emergency action plan and provide fire extinguisher training for your staff members. Whether you need to install emergency lighting, replace a damaged fire suppression system, or purchase new fire extinguishers, we can meet your needs.

For more information about preparing your employees for a fire emergency, or to schedule fire protection services, please contact us online or call 888-228-0917 today.

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