It is a horrifying and heart-breaking experience for any organization or employer to lose employees to deaths cause by fire outbreak. While no employer would like to expose their workforce to such danger, many do not regularly carry out fire safety audits and this in most cases leaves many gaps for fire emergencies to turn out tragic incase of a fire outbreak. What then are fire safety audits and what are their importance?
Auditing refers to the process where an employer brings into book and reviews all their fire training activities, procedures, polices and fire safety controls, with a view of establishing how effective they are as time goes by and as the company expands. Auditing helps in creation of maps and detailed drawings in which the procedures to be followed in case of a fire outbreak will be followed. Most organization usually outsource for this service from professional consultants but it should not just end there. Ensure that the consultant meets up with your employees, or a few selected ones, to discuss the results of the audit and ways on how to mitigate risk.
Some of the activities that should follow soon after fire safety auditing process are:
- Risk assessment and prevention
- Installation of fire-detection and Warning system
- Provision of appropriate equipment
Prevention/ Risk assessment
Every employer, or the person who has responsibility over a building, must take responsibility and work towards reducing the risk of fire. In addition, they must ensure that people will be able to escape safely in the event that the building catches fire. There must be one person who is responsible for fire safety in that environment, organization or building. Many governments have put it as a legal requirement for every organization to do risk assessment and fire safety every so often and to keep records for the same.
It is recommendable that all employees are provided with the basic fire safety instructions, which guide them on how to handle a fire situation. Basic things that employees must know include how to raise an alarm. Use the fire-fighting equipment, contact the fire-fighting company and also how to safely evacuate a building without posing danger to themselves or others.
Fire Detection and Warning System
Employees will not be in a position to raise an alarm effectively if there exists no fire detector and an alarm system. The system must be well connected to ensure that once the button is pressed, everyone in the building is notified and warned of lurking danger. Not all types of detectors will work effectively for all types of buildings and hence, you must choose carefully.
Appropriate fire-fighting equipment
Depending on the findings of your Fire Safety Audit and risk assessment activity, you might find it fitting to provide portable fire extinguishers, and especially the multipurpose ones; one that can fight fire caused by different substances. As best practice, if yours is a multi-storeyed building make sure to provide this equipment on each floor of the building. In addition to equipment, ensure that you provide other materials like exit signs, maps and exit pictograms if possible.