Protect your building against the dangers of fire this holiday by maintaining your required annual inspections, brushing up employees on rules and policies for fire safety, and instating important rules like no space heaters or appliances at their desks.
The holidays are a busy time, but don’t let your guard down when it comes to fire safety. Consider these tips for how to better protect your building against fires this holiday season, and how your fire protection company can help.
Don’t put off inspections
Annual inspections may fall in the months around the holidays. It may be tempting to put it off until January, but that’s a mistake. Fires don’t take a holiday, and neither should your fire protection system.
From your sprinkler system to your fire alarm system, these are critical life saving devices that need regular maintenance. Try to keep your required inspections, even if they fall in the busier holiday months. And seek out help from your fire protection company if you need additional guidance on inspections and maintenance tips for your building’s fire protection system.
Update office policies and procedures
The holidays are undoubtably a busy time for many businesses. You might not want to add one more thing to the do list, but amid a busy season, safety is priority. Take the opportunity to remind employees of evacuation plans. If you have a plan B due to weather, share that plan and remind employees what to do in the event of a fire emergency.
Another reminder that’s helpful when the weather gets cooler is that any employees who smoke should maintain a distance of at least 25 feet from the building. With cooler, dryer air and windier conditions, it takes only seconds for a cigarette or spark to start a fire.
Never allow space heaters
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 1,200 fires a year are caused by portable space heaters. This includes ceramic heaters, convection heaters, fan heaters, and oil heaters. Space heaters may cause fires in the following ways:
Defective electrical wiring
Use of an extensive cord or electrical power strip
Proximity to flammable items
Some employees may use space heaters under their desk, but the problem is both proximity and the high likelihood that someone will forget to turn off the appliance. Both of which can cause fires.
Keep a checklist for small appliances
As temperatures drop, you may find that more people are using small appliances like coffee makers, kettles, etc. at their desk. If you permit this, check that outlets are not crowded and have someone in charge of checking all appliances before closing for the night. If possible, it’s best to keep any small appliances in one shared space like a kitchen area.
If you have a shared kitchen space, check all appliances like coffee makers often. Make a checklist that hangs in the break room or kitchen, so you know when the appliance was purchased, if any maintenance has been done, or if there have been issues with it. You’d be surprised how many fires start from kitchen areas or small kitchen appliances.
Make a Christmas checklist
If you and your employees will be out of the building for a longer period around the holidays, create a Christmas or holiday checklist before leaving. You can designate an employee like an office manager to oversee the list, or you can manage it.
A few items you might want to include would be your regular nightly closing duties but with a more thorough twist. For example, checking to make sure power strips, extension cords, Christmas decorations, etc. are either unplugged or safely in use (no damaged cords, overcrowded outlets). If you have a kitchen area, unplug everything that you can and check the cords of larger appliances like refrigerators.
If the holidays are too busy a time to complete a checklist like this, adapt this idea to the new year!
Choose the right fire protection company
Fire Systems, Inc. is a leading fire protection company in Atlanta, in business since 1986. We are experts at protecting commercial buildings large and small. We can help you schedule inspections when it’s convenient for you and keep track of when inspections are due too. Our goal is to protect your business and keep you in compliance with local fire codes. Fire Systems is an all services company so you can work with one company for all your fire protection needs, even fire alarm monitoring. Easily streamlined and intuitive, Fire Systems has an advanced software system that our clients love. Find out more about our services and how we can help you this holiday season and well into the new year. Call us at 770-333-7979 or visit our website for more information.