Everybody knows and understands what kind of danger fire represents. With all the safety rules and regulations focusing solely on workplace fires, it almost feels like it’s the only hazard that awaits us in the office environment. Nevertheless, there’s a good reason for all that – safety should always come first and doing everything “by the book” will help you a lot in that regard. That’s the whole reason “the book” was designed in the first place.
Where to Start
There are plenty of different steps, tips and guidelines, but we need to start from the beginning. What is one thing that should be at the very centre of any building’s fire safety plans? Fire risk assessment. But what is a fire risk assessment? This procedure, if conducted in a professional manner and with attention to detail, will provide you with all the information about the risks and hazards in your building. You can rest assured – you’ll have all the answers you need to make your building safer. You’ll find out how many fire extinguishers you need, what types to choose in order to best protect the people in the building against different classes of fire, where to place them, and also how to plan escape routes as well as how to properly use fire doors and other elements of fire safety systems. Typically, it’s in a form of a document, but it depends on the size of your office – if there are less than 5 people in the office on a regular basis, then it doesn’t have to be written down. It’s still required, though. Nobody wants a fire to start; all these measures are meant to mitigate any risk and chances of that ever happening.
You probably wonder – who’s actually responsible for making sure that fire risk assessment has been conducted? The answer varies here depending on what kind of building we’re talking about. As in this article, we decided to focus on offices – let’s just stick to them. It can be an office manager, it can be a team member or an executive manager in charge. All that matters is that this person has to be appointed, it doesn’t really matter who it is. That role includes making sure all the assessments are up to date, meaning that whenever there’s a change in a layout or perhaps a given space has been repurposed – it’s necessary to adjust fire safety plans accordingly. And, of course, carry out a new risk assessment.
Obviously, they don’t have to do it themselves – provisions of the law stipulate that it needs to be performed by a competent individual.
The bottom line is – prevention is better than cure. This is why planning and identifying risks are such a vital part of fire safety. Unfortunately, accidents happen even with all the precautions in the world – that’s just the way it is. This is precisely why it’s so important to focus on being ready, just in case. Work with a professional, listen to his advice on safety measures, make sure you implement them. That’s all you can do.