Office fire safety should be a top priority for every company. Simple mistakes can lead to huge catastrophes if routine fire prevention tactics are ignored. Don’t wait until it is too late to become proactive about fire prevention!
Between 2007 and 2011, there were over 3,000 fires in office properties every year (NFPA). Business owners should take every precaution necessary to protect their offices from detrimental fires.
Office fires not only put employees in harm’s way, but also put all of your businesses physical assets and intellectual property at risk. Recovering from a structure fire at a company’s place of business is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Discussed below are a few common office safety mistakes that businesses commit on a regular basis.
Allowing Clutter to Buildup
Those stacks of papers in the hallway and folders around your desk might be more harmful than you think. Clutter in the office can lead to fire evacuation problems, so be sure to remove any old documents or office equipment that might obstruct your ability to safely evacuate the office. Furthermore, remove any office supplies or documents that may be blocking sprinklers or smoke detectors. Doing so will enable those mechanisms to function properly.
Unsafe Disposal of Cigarettes
Cigarettes are one of the leading causes of fire in the United States. While employees most likely don’t smoke inside the office, make sure the common smoking areas outside the office are suitable for smoking. Proper cigarette disposals should be placed conveniently in the area. Also, avoid placing flammable objects in or around the common smoking areas.
Improper Ventilation of Equipment
Arranging your office equipment (printers, scanners, desktop computers, etc.) in tight spaces can inhibit their ability to cool properly. When the ability to cool down is reduced, the chances of a fire occurring significantly increases. Take the time to structure your office layout in a functional and safe manner to reduce the chance of fire.
Incorrect Use of Power Strips and Extension Cords
If your office uses a variety of extension cords on a daily basis, make sure that those cords are not overused. Attaching too many devices to a single extension cord can demand and unsafe level of power. Similarly, it is important to use power strips in the manner for which they were designed. One of the biggest mistakes employees can make when using power strips is connecting one strip to another. Avoid doing this as it can cause unsafe power surges, which can result in fire.
Avoid Using Space Heaters
Space heaters cause the most deaths during the winters season (USA Today). With that said, don’t use them in your office if at all possible. Make a point to bundle up instead. When left unattended, space heaters are very dangerous and can easily start fires inside your office building.