It is estimated that up to 80,000 serious workplace fires occur every year in the United States alone, taking the lives of approximately 200 workers and injuring another 5,000. If you own or manage a business, it’s your responsibility to put fire safety measures in place and protect your employees, your company, and yourself from the devastation that can result from a workplace fire.

What is a fire safety plan?

A good fire safety plan outlines the correct procedures to follow in case there is a fire. A fire safety plan does not just involve having an alarm and fire extinguishers. It provides information that is relevant about the building’s layout, the fire protection systems and equipment, and the emergency evacuation procedures. If you do not own the building, contact the owner, as ideally, they should have a fire plan that you are able to review and adapt to your business.

Why it’s important to have one?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the five most common causes of fires in commercial buildings are cooking equipment, heating equipment, electrical and lighting equipment, smoking materials, and intentional fire setting.  Regardless of the type of business you own you will find these causes cover most, if not all, of them. No business is immune to a possible fire, so having a fire safety plan is one more way you can do your due diligence to ensure the safety of your employees & staff.

In 2019 Fires were down by 3.2% from 2010, however, deaths were up 24.1%.
( Source: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/ ) 
With a fire safety plan in place in all businesses, we can do our part to reduce this number.
 According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments responded to about 3,300 office property fires per year between 2007 and 2011. Most of these fires were in business offices, and happened during business hours.

What is included in a fire safety plan?

The Fire Safety plan must include these types of things:

OSHA requirements for a fire safety plan in the workplace

​The employer must develop and implement a written fire safety plan that covers all the actions that employers and employees must take to ensure employee safety in the event of a fire

The employer must include the following information in the fire safety plan:

Reviewing the plan with employees

Additional employer requirements.

How to design a fire safety plan

Before you do anything, schedule a meeting with a local fire specialist to find out exactly which types of fire alarm and sprinkler systems city or county codes require you to put in place. Our specialists at Elyon Fire & Life Safety can help you with this. Your location, industry, and facility size can greatly affect your choice of fire protection equipment, so find out exactly what you need before you invest.

Using a graphics program to create your evacuation maps makes it easy to insert clear icons to label elements such as fire extinguishers and exits. Hand-drawing the maps with fine-tipped markers is another option. Remember each map will have a different “You Are Here” point depending on where it’s displayed. Frame the maps and hang them on bare walls where they’re easy to find. Turn each map to match its location so readers can easily orient themselves and find the nearest exit.

Review your fire safety and other emergency plans with all employees who may be affected. If the plan changes, notify your employees.

How to execute a fire safety plan

Rehearsing your fire safety plan is the best way to ensure you can effectively execute it if a real fire should break out. If you have children in school, you know that they practice “fire drills” often, sometimes monthly. Why? Because conducting regular rehearsals minimizes confusion and helps kids see how a safe fire drill should operate, ultimately reducing panic when a real emergency occurs. A safe outcome is more likely to occur with calm students who know what to do in the event of a fire.

Research shows adults benefit from the same approach to learning through repetition.

Key fire evacuation leaders should meet quarterly and plan for an annual or semi-annual full rehearsal of the company fire evacuation plan. Consult any local fire codes for your facility to ensure you meet safety requirements and emergency personnel is aware of your organization’s escape plan.

Key takeaways

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