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How to Create a Fire Prevention Plan for Your Business
August 29, 2018
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How to Create a Fire Prevention Plan for Your Business

The latest statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration reveal that there were an estimated 96,800 nonresidential building fires in 2016, resulting in more than $2 billion in damage and 145 deaths. Even if your employees are careful, accidents happen in the workplace and you should have a solid fire prevention plan that complies with federal, state, and local laws.

In this post, we’ll explain how to create a fire prevention plan that will keep you and your employees safe.

What is a Fire Prevention Plan?

The purpose of a fire prevention plan is to identify and control fire hazards before they occur. This document should list where all the fire extinguishers and alarms are in your business location and describe potentially hazardous materials and fuel sources that are on-site.

Comply with Federal and State Laws

Although every business isn’t legally required to have a fire prevention plan, your company will benefit from this safety practice. Laws can vary by state, so it’s best to check with your local government to ensure you’re complicating with state and local laws. In addition, as a business owner, you’re required to inform all employees of any fire hazards they might be exposed to when they accept the job.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), your fire prevention plan must be in writing at the workplace, and readily available to employees when they need to review it. The only exception is that businesses with less than 10 employees may communicate the plan verbally.

Cover Everything in the Plan

OSHA states that all major fire hazards must be listed in your plan, along with proper handling and storage procedures for hazardous materials. You’ll also need to understand how to use any necessary equipment to control each hazard listed.  For example, you should document procedures for handling flammable and combustible waste materials and maintain the safeguards installed on heat-producing equipment.

When creating your plan, you should ask one employee to control fuel source hazards and have them maintain the equipment that controls and prevents fires. A full list of requirements can be found on OSHA’s fire prevention plan requirement website.

What You Can Do to Ensure Safety

As a business owner, you’re responsible for ensuring your employees understand the fire prevention plan. There are several actions you can take to keep your employees and property safe.

1. Conduct Fire Drills

You should hold fire drills to educate your employees about procedures they’ll need to follow in the event of an emergency. They should take place as often as needed to ensure everyone understands the safety protocols. If possible, include outside resources like the police and fire departments, and encourage your staff to ask questions.

2. Monitor Potential Hazards

Even if your company doesn’t handle hazardous materials, water heaters, furnaces, boilers, and electric circuits can all cause fires. In addition, you should schedule routine maintenance and equipment inspections.

3. Conduct Fire Safety Training

The most recent statistics from the S. Fire Administration show that the leading cause of a nonresidential fire in 2016 was cooking at 29.9 percent of incidents. In addition, careless behavior caused 11 percent of fires. By conducting fire safety training for your employees, you can help mitigate these risks. It may be as simple as posting a reminder in the kitchen to turn the stove burner off, or posting signs throughout your facility if you work with potentially hazardous materials.

4. Recognize Threats

Did you know that nine percent of nonresidential fires in 2016 were due to intentional destruction? Due to this, you must monitor your current and previous employees to make sure your business isn’t in danger, especially after you fire an employee, or if you know that you have a disgruntled customer.

Conclusion: Make Fire Safety a Priority

Having a solid fire prevention plan in place can save lives and millions of dollars in damages. It can put your employees at ease and give you peace-of-mind that you’re doing everything you can to create a safe work environment.

Does your business have a fire safety plan? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].