Fire Safety Work Plan
Work as a team to develop an emergency action plan (EAP). An EAP describes the safest escape routes for all workers. Choose area leaders for emergency evacuations. Decide how to help disabled coworkers to safety. Include a safe meeting place outdoors. Once your EAP is developed, post it and distribute it to all employees.
Manage Your Risk
Clean – Keep the workplace clean an orderly. Boxes or rubbish may block exits. Keep the office kitchens clean – the microwave, toaster and coffee machine should not give off smoke or sparks and their cords and plugs should be intact
Equipment – Any office equipment that produces heat must be well ventilated. Inspect electrical equipment for cracked cords, faulty switches or odd smells. Keep flammables 12-18 inches from light fixtures and other electrical equipment. Avoid using extension cords. Have a licensed electrician inspect your building annually.
HVAC – have a qualified contractor inspect your heating equipment each autumn. Do not store cleaning supplies, paper or other combustibles near furnaces or water heaters.
Smoking – If smoking is allowed in the workplace, ashtrays should be tip-resistant. Empty ashtrays frequently when contents are cool – dispose of smoking materials only in ashtrays.
Special Fire Hazards – Identify any special fire hazards in your office and determine how they can be handled safely. Include these steps in your EAP.
In Case of Fire
Fire prevention is the main goal but you need to be prepared in case a fire does occur.
Your workplace is probably required to have a fire alarm system. The building may also have sprinklers and/or automatic fire doors. Most commercial buildings are made of fire-resistant materials that slow the spread of fire.
Portable fire extinguishers can put out small fires and prevent their spread. If your company provides fire extinguishers for employee use they must provide training in using them. If fire extinguishers and training are not provided all employees must evacuate immediately for any fire.
If rescue is Necessary
If you are trapped in your office by smoke and flames – do not panic.
- Seal cracks around doors with damp clothing
- Call the fire department, even if they are already on the scene – tell them exactly where to find you
- Open a window – do not break the windows, you may need to close them later
- Stay near the window where you can signal for help with a flashlight, light cloth or sheet of paper
Out of the Office
In any fire, the most important thing is to protect lives – follow your emergency action plan and exit quickly:
- Crawl – crawl low under smoke. Keep your head 12-24 inches from the floor. Heavier toxins can gather in a thin layer below 12 inches
- Cover – cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth
- Never – never use an elevator under any circumstances
- Stairwells – most enclosed stairwells in buildings over two stories are fire-resistant. Walk quickly but carefully down – never go back up the stairs
- Exiting – after exiting go to the safe meeting place shown in the EAP. A head count should be taken there
- Never – once you are out of a burning building NEVER go back inside. If you know coworkers who may be inside – get that information to firefighters who are trained to perform rescues
Organizing for Fire Safety