8 Steps to protect your Property before a fire
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2019, commercial property fires resulted in $4.3 billion worth of damage, 1,200 injuries, and 110 deaths. We have done hundreds of residential and commercial property fire inspections and have seen the necessity for water and fire restoration first-hand. During our inspections, I find areas that need immediate attention when it comes to fire safety. The Mesa, AZ community has lost 2 major restaurants (Sizzler and The Hub) over the past year due to fire damage along with several other businesses which have been temporarily closed for fire-related issues. Correcting and identifying these 8 concerns will help protect your family, employees, or tenants and property in the event of a fire. an explanation of each will be provided below.
- Performing Regular Inspections
- Having Visible Exit Signs
- Testing Alarms
- Conducting fire drills
- Communicating your Emergency Plan to Family members or Staff
- Creating an electronic version of your plan for easy access
- Decluttering halls and doorways
- Having properly working fire extinguishers and performing routine inspections on them
Performing Regular Inspections
Every year, businesses should have their fire alarms, extinguishers, sprinklers, and lights inspected. Many firms submit to yearly maintenance in complete disregard of the fact that it is required by law. By failing to maintain your fire safety equipment over time, it might erode away and produce faulty equipment.
After a thorough examination, the inspection business will provide you with a report. The report will contain information such as the date of the inspection, the property's name and address, type of occupancy, any problems that must be addressed, and contact information for the building owner and those interviewed during the inspection. You must keep this document on file for at least 2 years, but it is smart to keep records for a 5-year rolling basis.
One of the most common reasons for missed inspections is due to owners being away. Schedule inspections at a time when you know you'll be able to attend and set a reminder for yourself.
Visible Exit Signs
Another thing that many people overlook is maintaining the building's exit lights. During a fire, things may become chaotic and perplexing. Smoke might cloud vision and make it difficult to find your way around your regular office area. Exit signs with light make it more likely that people will be able to see where they're meant to go and how to escape the building.
These exit signs should be kept in good condition and if they're damaged, second-hand, or counterfeit may be illegal and found out upon inspection.
When a power outage occurs, emergency exit signs are programmed to switch over to emergency power. These illuminated signs must be tested on a regular basis by the tenant to ensure they function properly. This might involve pressing the test button on the sign's side in order to verify that it activates correctly to the standby energy source.
Testing Alarms and Conducting Fire Drills
Fire alarms are frequently regarded as the most essential component of a business's safety program. When an alarm goes off, the people inside have no doubt that a danger exists and they must evacuate.
You should have your renters test the fire alarm system on a regular basis. The majority of systems may be tested through the control panel. Set your control panel to test mode, which means it will not call the fire department and press the button again to activate the alarms. For other types of security, you may need to manually set off the alarms by opening an alarm lever box with a master key and pushing the button within. Keep track of each activating gadget's response to the test and a list of all devices that were activated. If one or more alarms are not working, this data can assist a specialist in finding the
Business owners should perform regular fire drills as part of their emergency action plan. These exercises allow employees to practice getting out and any gaps in the plan that need to be addressed. Although fire drills aren't required by state or federal law, I still recommend performing them on a regular basis to ensure employee safety.
Communicating Your Emergency Action Plan
Businesses that use commercial property should have written emergency action plans in place for employees to ensure that everyone understands the exit routes and what fire emergency procedures are in place.
According to OSHA, employers and employees should have emergency action plans that cover the actions they must take to assure their safety during fire situations. These activities include determining which equipment needs to be shut down and when fire suppression efforts are required. The company owner must guarantee that all workers are knowledgeable on fire suppression procedures and escape routes for each office location.
To go through the emergency action plan with each person at particular intervals, such as when it's created, when an employee's responsibilities change, and when the plan is updated.
Having a digital version of the emergency plan easily accessible
Having a plan in place it great, but let's be honest, in an emergency, we tend to forget things. Having a digital version of the emergency plan on a mobile device is the easiest way to keep everyone on the same page. SERVPRO's free ERP (Emergency Ready Plan) is a great way to have emergency plan information at everyone's fingertips when disaster strikes. It can be downloaded for free from the Apple IOS and Google Play Stores. If you have questions or would like help setting up an ERP for your business or household contact the SERVPRO of North Central Mesa Marketing Department and we will schedule a time to assist you with that.
Decluttering of Walls and Doorways
Many commercial building owners need to keep their tenants informed about the number of wall coverings in the hallways and offices. Copy rooms with jumbled papers and cluttered workplaces are high-risk fire zones, as are extensive bulletin boards covered in paper. A tiny flame may transform these regions into an uncontrollable inferno.
I frequently come across blocked emergency exit doors during my inspections. I advise tenants to inspect their doorways for clear egress on a regular basis. Moved any boxes, equipment, or trash from the doorway in order to expedite the evacuation process.
In commercial buildings, multipurpose fire extinguishers rated class A, B, and C are required to put out small fires involving wood, paper, oils, and gases. According to OSHA recommendations, extinguishers should be installed 75 feet apart throughout the structure.
Check to see whether your fire extinguishers are properly labeled and within the required weight or gauge limit. The label on the side of the extinguisher will reveal this information. If your fire extinguishers aren't at the correct levels, replace them or recharge them after each use.
Some property management firms charge the tenants for fire extinguishers, while others will supply them. The tenant must be held liable if the building owner demands that they provide the fire extinguishers.
Following these fire safety instructions will guarantee that your tenants and property are safer in the event of a fire. If you have any questions regarding your fire safety system or plan, please contact your local fire department in the Mesa area.