Fire safety is an essential consideration for business owners and managers throughout Australia. Things like fire extinguishers and other safety gear can help reduce the risk of a serious fire breaking out in your workplace, but they simply must not be seen as an alternative to a clear fire action plan.
Fire action plans are essential to ensure the safety of your staff and clients in the case of a workplace fire. In some cases, fire safety or action plans are required by law. Make sure that you and your workplace is covered by developing or updating your fire action plan today. Consider the following:
Start with a map of your building:
To begin, it is important to have a clear idea of the layout of your building, to know where all exits are and to know how easy those exits are to access. Identify existing fire exits, and mark them on your map. Make sure that they are accessible to all personnel and are not locked or restricted access. If they are in the form of windows that have to be broken, make sure that there is a fire axe or hammer in the immediate vicinity for this.
Identify existing fire safety gear:
Once you have an idea about the wider layout of your building, you need to identify any existing safety equipment and fire mitigation methods. This will include things such as:
- Smoke detectors, which should be in every room if possible.
- Voice or other fire alarm systems which will allow an alarm to be broadcast through an entire complex.
- Sprinkler systems if they are needed for your business.
- Fire extinguishers, blankets and other equipment to help you fight a small fire.
- Hydrants, fire hoses and other professional fire fighting equipment that can be used by trained professionals.
Note what new gear you need:
Once you know what fire safety equipment you already have, you need to make a list of what else you need. Make sure that things are located in smart places, and that they are accessible to everyone. You may need to move fire safety equipment around and make sure that its location is clearly signed.
Make sure you have an effective evacuation plan, and that everyone knows what to do:
After you have all of your safety gear in place and all of your emergency exits identified and clearly signed, you need to develop an evacuation plan for the occupants of your building, and you need to make sure that they understand it.
Start by identifying the easiest and safest ways to exit the building in case of a fire. Appoint trained fire wardens if you have a large number of people on site, and make sure that clear evacuation plans are available throughout the workplace.
Once you have done all this, you will be well on the way to having a clear, effective fire action plan. Make sure that people know that they should only fight a fire if they are trained and it is safe to do so, and consider training courses for your employees to complement your action plan.