In the workplace, fire safety training is a practice to protect lives and property. It is important that every single person coming in and out of an office building knows what to do in case a fire emergency breaks out. Knowledge of safety protocols reduces the risk of loss of life, damage to property, and injuries.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) lists these five sources as the most common causes of fire in commercial settings:
- Heating equipment
- Cooking equipment
- Electrical and lighting equipment
- Smoking materials
- Intentional fire setting
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when thinking about industries prone to fire accidents is the food industry, particularly restaurants. Actually, all industries are not safe from fire accidents. And the vulnerability depends on how much damage a fire accident can potentially do. In the hospitality and healthcare industry, there is so much at stake, given that hotels and hospitals are always filled with people.
The fact that every industry is vulnerable to fire makes fire safety training in the workplace imperative.
The age-old adage is true–prevention is better than cure. A fire can be prevented if the hazards are easily identified and managed. Every employee should be able to tell if a stack of office paper left in the pantry is a fire hazard or not.
The training should include the very basics of fire education as to what causes a fire? A source of ignition, fuel, and oxygen. From there, it’s easier to identify fire hazards waiting to happen.
What are examples of fire hazards in the workplace?
- Large machinery prone to overheating
- Industrial heating equipment
- Activities like welding
- Office kitchens
Emergency exits exist for a reason but they are rendered useless when people do not know how or when to use them. This should be part of workplace fire safety training along with “dos and don’ts”. Other practical tips can be useful such ass using the back of the hand when trying to figure out if the room on the other side of the door is on fire.
Everybody must be familiar with the use of different types of fire extinguishers, especially knowing which extinguisher type to use with different fuel fires. It should also be part of the training to teach everyone how to read and understand exit plans. Practicing fire drills is a must.
Fire safety training in the workplace must be comprehensive and built on the basics. At the same time, it shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Memory builds in favor of safety, so regular fire drills must be part of the workplace policy. Refresher courses on safety training must also be provided to all employees. Finally, it is the responsibility of the business to invest in fire prevention systems to make sure that everyone is protected.