Owners and managers of commercial and business facilities have an obligation to maintain safe conditions for employees and occupants. Most commercial and residential fires result from negligent cooking, improperly discarded smoking materials, negligent candle burning and faulty electrical equipment. To reduce the risk of damage and injury at your commercial property, there are three main objectives that should be satisfied: install proper prevention equipment, inform tenants of risks and establish an effective evacuation plan.
Fire Prevention Planning and Equipment
Check with local authorities to verify building and fire codes for your premise. Even if a sprinkler system is not required, the National Fire Protection Association recommends installing a sprinkler system for safety and liability. To ensure that the system works properly when and if a fire arises, conduct routine inspections and maintenance.
Equip building with a fire alarm system and smoke detectors, both in units and common areas. Check detectors regularly and change the batteries at least every six months.
Place fire extinguishers in common areas of the building.
Provide adequate emergency lights and exit signs. These items maintain a sense of order and reduce panic in the event of a fire. Routinely inspect these safety materials for damage and reliability.
Establish an evacuation plan for your tenants. At each exit and on a posting’s board, display a floor plan of your building with the exits and a primary and secondary escape route clearly marked. Provide this information to your tenants when they move in, renew their leases or semi-annually as a reminder.
Tenant Safety Recommendations
Never leave cooking food unattended.
Exercise caution with smoking materials. Discard them in ashtrays and never throw the ashes in the trash. Instead, flush them down the toilet.
Never leave burning candles unattended. Always place candles in proper holders on a sturdy surface away from children, pets and materials that could catch fire.
Unplug appliances when not in use.
Place space heaters at least three feet away from items that could catch fire. Always unplug and turn them off before going to bed.
Check smoke alarm at least twice per year and change the batteries
Practice a safety evacuation plan and be familiar with the building’s exits.
Never use an elevator during a fire; always use the stairs.
Keep a fire extinguisher in the unit.
Never paint any fire sprinkler, never hang anything from any part of a fire sprinkler system, never stack items close to fire sprinklers (at least 18 inches below fire sprinkler heads), and always report damage to any part of a sprinkler system immediately.
For reference use only. Not intended to identify all hazards, or reflect all requirements of federal, state, or local law.