Fire Safety for Businesses

The very first step to fire safety is to know how to prevent fires form occurring.  The next step should be to become properly informed of fire safety techniques to improve your chances of being able to survive a fire should one occur.  The best defense is a working smoke detector because it provides the early warning necessary for quick escape.

Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is held every October, and commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,400 buildings.  Each year, KDEM joins our state's fire service community during Fire Prevention Week as part of its continuing mission to reduce life and economic losses due to fire and related emergencies.

Be Prepared!

  • Learn about what causes fire;
  •  Have your office, plant, or facility regularly inspected for fire safety, and comply with all fire codes and regulations;
  • Have all exits clearly marked;
  • Install and maintain a quality smoke detector and fire extinguishers on all levels of your business, and teach all of your employees how to use them;
  • Test the batteries in each detector every month, and replace them at least once a year;
  • Hold announced and unannounced fire drills;
  • Create and practice several evacuation routes from every office;
  • Consider an automatic sprinkler system, fire hoses, and fire-resistant doors and walls;
  • Have your office inspected to eliminate or control fire hazards, including the wiring to make sure it meets current building codes;
  • Establish a warning system for your employees; plan how your will communicate with those with disabilities or that do not speak English;
  • Keep storage areas clean and tidy;
  • Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs.

Tips to Prevent and Survive Fires:

  • Use safety plugs in electrical outlets;
  • Keep all portable heaters at least three (3) feet away from flammable items;
  • Turn off space heaters before leaving a room, even if you will be gone only a short time;
  • Do not overload electrical circuits, such as wall outlets and extension cords - use a circuit (power) strip;
  • Do not run electrical cords under rugs, carpet, or furniture;
  • If you celebrate the holidays with a live tree, find a fresh one and water it regularly;
  • Keep the tree away from heat sources;
  • If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled as flame retardant;
  • If you decorate with lights, purchase only UL approved lights.  Never use frayed or damaged strings or mix indoor only and outdoor only lights.  Also, unplug lights before leaving for the day.

Make an Escape Plan!

  • Never open doors that are hot to the touch;
  • Practice feeling your way out of the building with your eyes closed;
  • Make sure all employees know and practice escape routes from every room;
  • Use a chain ladder to escape from upper levels and practice using it;
  • Have a flashlight to help you see and a whistle to alert people of your location;
  • Remember to escape first, know how to contact the fire department, and when to call for help;
  • Teach your employees to STOP, DROP, and ROLL if their clothes catch fire;
  • Crawl low, under the smoke, and keep your mouth covered (use an article of clothing if possible);
  • Designate a meeting place outside.  Make it a location away from your building, but not necessarily across the street.

 What To Do After a Fire:

  • Do not enter a fire-damaged building, unless authorities say it is safe to do so;
  • If you are allowed to enter, look for  signs of fire or smoke;
  • Beware of structural damage - roofs and floors may be weakened and need repairs;
  • Call your insurance agent.  Keep records of all cleanup and repair costs;
  • Have an electrician check the building's wiring before the current is turned back on.  Do not attempt to reconnect utilities yourself - leave that to the authorities;
  • Do not throw away any damaged goods until an official inventory has been taken;
  • If you rent or lease the building, contact your landlord.

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