Every workplace is different with its own unique fire safety needs. It’s important that all premises have an ongoing fire risk assessment document to identify any dangers and keep people safe. Here’s a few general tips that can anyone can use to get started. It’s SIMPLE!
- Store stock safely: so keep corridors, stairs and exits clear to aid easier evacuation. The last thing you need is an obstacle course on your way to safety!
- Identify alarm points: make sure everyone knows where the fire alarm points are, so if necessary, people can raise the alarm quickly.
- Make sure doors are closed to stop fires from spreading. The picture below shows an unfortunately common occurrence, a fire door being wedged open. Wedging a fire door will allow a fire to spread relentlessly throughout the building, damaging property and putting lives at risk.
- Place things that catch fire away from things that cause fire: things you use every day can turn into deadly materials when they come into contact with flames, so something as simple as keeping flammable items stored safely can reduce the risk and make a workplace safer.
- Let someone know if you spot fire safety problems: do you or your colleagues know who to speak to when you spot a fire hazard in the office? Are you the responsible person? Speaking to the responsible person or an expert about any potential risk you see could save lives.
- Ensure everyone knows what to do if a fire alarm sounds: do your staff know where to go when the fire alarm sounds? Down the pub? Run for their lives? Making sure that everyone knows what to do when the alarm sounds can save lives in a real fire situation.
What are the duties of a fire warden?
Fire Wardens play a vital role in a workplace’s fire safety plan. They make sure that everyone is prepared should an emergency occur.
If a fire alarm sounds, whether it’s for a fire drill or a real emergency, fire wardens need to:
- Direct everyone to leave the building by using the nearest and most appropriate exits
- Make sure exit doors are clear of obstructions
- Check all areas to ensure everyone has evacuated
- Close all doors behind them to contain any fire and smoke
- Guide everyone to the assembly point and check that everyone has arrived safely.
It’s a big responsibility and it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. Fire drills may not always go to plan.
We understand how you feel! However, with communication with the Responsible Person and the right measures in place, a fire drill can go from #wheresjoyce to a smooth running and safe evacuation.
For more detailed information, click here for government guidance on fire safety in the workplace.
Tips for quick and safe evacuation
- Act quickly. Alert everyone, get together and take your planned route out
- Don’t waste time saving valuables
- Test to see if a door is warm with the back of your hand before opening, fire may be on the other side
- Don’t investigate the fire unless trained to do so
- If there’s smoke, keep as low as possible
- Close any open doors behind you
- If you’re trapped in a fire, get behind a fire door and block the bottom of the door with a towel, sheets or clothing to prevent smoke getting through.
- Call 999
- Don’t go back into the building.
There are lots ways to provide a safer environment at work. Common sense and easily accessible information are vital. Make sure there’s an evacuation plan in place, and undertake regular fire drills to ensure everyone knows what to do when the alarm sounds.
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Closed fire doors save lives. They prevent fire spreading through a building, which gives people more time to evacuate. But closed fire doors also hugely hinder access throughout a building.
How well do you know your workplace fire safety? Take the Fireco quiz to find out!
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