If a fire suddenly breaks out in your small business, will you and your employees be equipped with a fire plan to handle the emergency so that the damage is contained? Will you know what to do to keep yourselves and those around you safe?
With all the decisions and resources that go into running a business, developing a small business fire safety plan might not be one of your top priorities. But, you may want to reconsider. According to a recent study on property and liability insurance claims among small businesses, the average cost of fire damage claims is $35,000, making it the third most costly insurance claim. (Keep in mind that’s for those business owners who actually have an insurance policy.) It is also the fourth most common claim; roughly 10% of small businesses make insurance claims for fire damage each year.
Bottom line: the cost of fire damage can have a devastating impact on small and home-based businesses in particular, and the cost is typically higher than that of implementing and maintaining a fire safety plan. Thus as a small business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your property, staff and customers are safe in the event of a fire. A fire can race through a your business property in a matter of minutes, giving you, your employees, and customers little time to escape.
Small Business Fire Plan Basics
For this reason every small business should have a fire plan. A fire plan is typically part of a formal
emergency action plan document which details the procedure you and your employees should follow in case of a fire. In other words, it is not enough to just have fire alarms and fire extinguishers.
It is also important that you spend the time and resources needed to create your own unique fire plan. Every business and location is different, and your plan needs to reflect those differences. That process starts with being aware of the fire risks inherent to your business. Each occupation and process has different kinds of fire risks attached to it. For example, restaurants need to be careful about kitchen fires while a tech based business should be concerned about their digital equipment overheating, and not every fire extinguisher is suited to every type of flame. So, first you need to determine the most likely fire hazards in your business and make that the basis for your fire safety plan.
The next step is to do an audit of your physical location to determine what fire safety equipment you need to invest in. Then you need to clearly set out a list of procedures to follow in the event that a fire breaks out in your small business. In a stressful situation such as a fire, it is really hard to think rationally and stay in control. That is why there are strict and specific procedures about what to do when there is a fire.
Fire safety plans for commercial locations should include a number of policies, procedures, and equipment designed to control potential fire hazards, detect fire outbreaks, and safely extinguish flames. These tend to include:
- The order of emergency procedures
- Relevant fire department information
- Fire drill procedures and evacuation plans
- Floor plans and escape routes
- The identification and location of fire prevention and fire fighting equipment, such as alarms, fire extinguishers, and emergency lighting
- Documentation pertaining to building materials and personnel
Finally, you should ensure that you and your employees are properly trained on how to use fire fighting equipment, such as fire extinguishers, to suppress small fires at work. There are a number of companies that offer fire safety training to small business owners and their employees. It’s important that your employees are fully trained when they join your business, regardless of whether they have had similar training with previous employers.
Free Emergency Action Plan Template Downloads
To help get you started in the development of your small business fire plan and other emergency procedures, here is a list of the best free emergency action plan templates specifically for smaller businesses that I could find. You can download one or all of them and start tweaking them to fit your particular business:
Fire safety in your small business is crucial even if you have never had a fire before. Make sure that you comply with all the rules and regulations in your region to help prevent accidents, and be ready to react if the unthinkable does in fact happen.
This post was brought to you by Red Truck Fire Extinguisher & Training CO. For more information on fire safety training and equipment in your small business, contact:
Red Truck Fire Extinguisher & Training CO
2073 Refugee Road f Columbus, OH 43207-1775