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Fire Safety in the Office

07 June 2021

Fire is one of the dangers in the workplace that people don’t think about until it happens. A lot of us at one point have thought of how drills and safety training like evacuation plans and red cross-training in the workplace is a waste of time and a hassle.

However, according to statistics around $10.6 billion worth of property damage have been caused by fires in 2001 alone. David Osborne, a senior advisor to vice president and environmental champion Al Gore has been quoted saying that, “The United States has the highest fatality rate from fire in the industrial world. Why? Because we spend most of our money responding to fire, not preventing them." 

Now that the weather is slowly rising, the risk of forest fires, electric malfunction to running the air-conditioner 24/7 without proper maintenance that may cause fire and other hazards are also on the rise. This is the best time to educate ourselves in keeping both ourselves as employees and the workplace a safe space from any risk of fire. 

Here are a few tips that can be handy in prevention of fire in the office: 

First, you need to check and look for anything that can be deemed a fire hazard. All appliances should be unplugged when not in use. Electricity emits heat and any exposed metal or cord could be a risk for fire when it sparks.

Phones that are left charging or with batteries from a reputable brand can also cause a fire. It is also good for employees and anyone in the workplace to keep in mind that appliances that generate heat should always be far away from any materials that can catch fire. Examples of these appliances can usually be found in the office break room aside from office heaters.  

Other things that may be helpful for safety are replacing damaged wirings and equipment before it can pose any risk. Also having too many things plugged in one extension is a bad idea, whether in the office or not. Everything that may pose an obstacle or may be a risk to people running during an emergency should be stored away. 

Fire extinguishers must be kept in high-risk areas like office kitchens or as prescribed by building safety regulations. Heaters or anything that are heavy on electricity use should be plugged to ground outlets not in extensions nor in a shared socket.  

The office management should have a plan ready for emergencies like a fire. Evacuation plans should be laid out and all employees must be trained for emergencies. These protocols and standard procedures must be followed to ensure the maximum safety of everyone. Apart from that, fire sprinklers and smoke detectors should be in place and properly maintained. 

Conservative use of electricity and avoiding overloading should also be enforced. It would save the company in energy bills and also add fire safety precautions in place. 

Smoke alarms can be a great way to prevent possible fire from spreading. It is necessary for offices smaller or larger ones. It's a great investment especially those with every kind of smoke sensor. Usually, smoke detectors need to be checked once a month for functionality, and batteries are replaced yearly. 

The only exception for this is a non-replaceable 10-year lithium battery. But usually, smoke detectors need to be replaced every 10 years and never left disabled for any reason at all. If you have any employees that are impaired or challenged, it is good to consider visual alarms like flashing lights or vibrating pads for those with problems with hearing alarms.  

Companies should always have a designated smoking area away from the work area or people who do not smoke. This not only protects people with any condition that could be triggered by smoke like allergies or asthma, it also prevents cancer from secondhand smoke.

Apart from that, it is a great way for the company to protect the workplace from fires and control the size of the fire until it is totally put out. Employees should also be mindful when smoking and to dispose of ashes in the correct bin and also to completely extinguish the cigarette before they go back to their stations.  

If ever a fire has already started, it is good to be completely alert and to warn others that a fire has started. Also, calling 911 as soon as possible would be helpful in keeping damages low and also prevent more people from being injured. 

The evacuation plan should also have multiple routes that employees can use. This is very important when the numbers of employees in the company is high and also if there are circumstances like damages during the fire that blocked the routes to safety.  

Everyone should be able to use fire extinguishers and know where the ladders that can be used to exit the building. Exits should be accessible to everyone and not locked. Glasses and windows should also be easily broken or removed so that the risk of inhalation of the smoke from the fire would be minimized. 

During an evacuation, it is good to keep calm and not panic nor run instead of walking to safety. This would prevent stampedes. If you cannot exit the place where the fire is, keep your distance from the fire and seal cracks with wet rags or any fabric. This is to prevent smoke from seeping through as much as possible. If you can crouch towards a door that would lead to an exit, check it with the back of your hands first to prevent burns. 

At Flexispot, you can find products that are durable and tested many times so that quality is assured and risks such as are avoided when products are used. One of the best products that is for the office and for the home as well is the Cable Management Tray CMP502.

This product is non-flammable, prevents electrical fire, and protects cords. So it does not only make your desk surface uncluttered, but it also assures safety while doing your job productively. It has an open design for airflow that will keep your cables cool and free from dust accumulation.