Summertime Fire Safety Tips for the Office
July 24th, 2018
Best advice on how to avoid fires
With hot-weather activities in full swing due to the UK’s longest and hottest heatwave, we would like to remind people on how to be safe this summer, prevention is the best form of firefighting – below is a guide on how to reduce the risks of a fire. Enjoying the summer is great, but it is important that you follow all rules, regulations and safety instructions. They are there to keep you safe.
Common fire risks in the office
- Unclean ducting– If the ducts and air system aren’t cleaned regularly the extraction systems won’t be able to ventilate as they are supposed to. Which significantly increased chances of a fire.
- Inadequate separation of units – Many offices share a building with another company whose fire prevention standards are not the same. Inadequate business separation could mean a fire that was started in one business spreads to another unit/building.
- Fires caused by electrical items – when portable appliances (like radios, blenders) aren’t tested they can quickly become fire hazards with faulty components that are likely to overheat / break-down and cause a building-wide fire. According to the BBC faulty appliances cause 60 fires a week.
- Lighting – Light bulbs in enclosed fixtures are also at a high risk for fire because heat is not able to dissipate. Bulbs inside a glass cone or globe can be more prone to fire than other bulbs. If a bulb overheats, it can damage a fixture and melt the socket around it, leading to a fire. This risk is only made worse when the lightbulb is placed too close to flammable material.
- Cooking – When in a kitchen, there is automatically an increased risk of fire due to the type of the appliances you are likely to find in a kitchen. Best practice should always be used, for example, oil temperatures should be monitored as large kitchen fires could often be avoided if the oil wasn’t at a volatile temperature and kept away from a source of ignition.
- Tumble dryers – As already mentioned, electrical appliances bring with them the risk of fire. A more high-risk example would be tumble dryers. When they are used continually they generate a lot of heat and when the lint hasn’t been emptied, it is likely to catch fire.
- Outdoor areas – External spaces such as smoking areas and outside bars have fire risks for a variety of reasons. Having external appliances such as patio heaters can be dangerous when they are not maintained properly. Additionally, gas supplies need to be handled very carefully. As for external smoking areas, it is best to have an ashtray that is regularly emptied, so that employees/customers have a suitable place to put cigarette remains. The ground is very dry at the moment and an external fire could be caused by a cigarette being dropped on the floor.
- Rubbish and Walkways/Exits – There should always be a clear walkway between you and the exit, any blockage however infrequent or small is unacceptable and can mean life or death. Additionally, the handling of rubbish is also important as improperly stored office waste can significantly increase the risk of arson and the ability for a fire to spread quickly.
Other Tips for Offices
Though business poses different risks and challenges when it comes to preventing fire, with a little planning you can keep your customers, your staff, and your premises safe from fires.
- Have ducting correctly installed & cleaned regularly in accordance with TR/19 guidance.
- Make sure all electrical items are tested and maintained – check regularly.
- Don't allow employees to bring their own kitchen appliances to work.
- Ensure your electrical system is regularly tested – at least once every year.
- Educate staff about the risks of overloading sockets,
- Ensure that there aren’t any fake/unofficial phone chargers.
- If your business requires a tumble dryer – name individuals who will be responsible for cleaning lint and checking the dryer on a regular basis.
- Make an emergency plan that includes disabled people.
- Complete your Fire Risk Assessment.
- Test your fire alarm at least once a week.
About Cannon Fire Protection
With almost 30 years experience, Cannon Fire Protection has developed an excellent reputation within the fire protection industry throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.
For well over a decade now the company has focused on supporting fire industry trade users, providing turnkey solutions for fixed fire suppression. Independent auditing of our quality management systems, contracting and service operations ensures the very best provision of support in our sector. Cannon Fire Protection is part of the Asset Protection Group.