Fires are unpredictable. They can occur anytime, anywhere, to any business. But almost a third of commercial fires happen between 7pm and 7am, the hours workers aren’t in attendance. Those fires also cause nearly 67% of property damage because they go undetected for a longer time. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to minimize the chances of a fire taking place in your Chicagoland business or commercial building.
According to OSHA, employers are required to perform a full maintenance check on their workplace fire extinguishers at least once per year. “Maintenance” means a thorough examination and repair, as needed, of all your businesses portable fire extinguishers, as covered in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), section 4.
While inspecting and maintaining your fire extinguishers according to Chicago fire codes, each month you should take these actions:
- Look for signs of damage, including dents, corrosion, and leakage.
- Check the pressure gauge to make sure that the indicator is in the operating (green) range.
- Make sure the pull-pin isn’t missing and that the pull-pin seal is unbroken.
- Verify the date of the last professional maintenance inspection.
- Date and initial the tag to log the visual inspection.
Your company must have a fire prevention plan in writing that’s kept in the workplace and is available to all your staff for examination. Even if your employees are few, having it printed instead of communicating it orally is more beneficial as it can be reviewed at any time. Your plan should include:
- Relevant information concerning the building’s layout
- The building’s fire protection systems and equipment
- Emergency evacuation procedures
Space heaters are notorious for starting fires, so if you can get by without them, do so. But if you must have them, follow these safety tips:
- Require employees to get approval before using a heater in their workspace.
- Instruct that space heaters and cords be placed in out-of-the-way areas.
- Stress the necessity to turn off space heaters at the end of the workday.
- Establish minimum standards for heaters, including safety features and independent testing certifications.
Keep other appliances such as coffeemakers and toasters away from paper and other flammables. You should also reduce the amount of clutter in your building. Items like boxes, piles of paper, and other flammable materials can supply fuel for a fire, especially if left near a heat source. Before plugging anything in, make certain the cord hasn’t been damaged or frayed. If it has been, replace it immediately. Electrical cords from any equipment should never run under rugs or between furniture and walls; they tend to heat up, so they need to be clear of any flammable objects.
We understand how devastating and confusing a fire to your Chicago area business can be. Your best defense is to develop an emergency contingency plan. Don’t hesitate to contact the experts here at ServiceMaster Disaster Restoration By Simons. We offer peace of mind by helping you with that plan and guiding you through the restoration process.