What to Do if You Discover a Fire in Your Workplace

By nature, fire is very unpredictable and you never know exactly when a fire might break out. You can however take steps to ensure that you know what to do, so if the worst happens you’ll be ready to act. In this article, we’ll give you some useful advice and information to make sure you are best prepared to handle the situation if a fire breaks out in your workplace.

Of course different working environments will have different fire threats and specific safety procedures associated with them, so you should always read your workplace’s fire safety policy carefully. You should also familiarise yourself with fire escape routes, assembly points, where fire equipment is located and how to use it.

The following tips are general guidelines outlining what you should do if you discover a fire, read on so that you’ll feel calm and be best prepared to take action.

  • The first thing to remember is to stay calm and think logically about what you need to do. This is critical to your safety and that of those around you, panicking will only worsen the situation!
  • You need to raise the alarm, do this by alerting people in the immediate area and activate the fire alarm from the nearest fire alarm call point. Most fire alarm systems nowadays have automatic fire detection in the form of smoke/heat detectors, but others will require you to break the glass of the manual call points. Instructions should be clearly displayed at each call point.
  • Next, dial the fire service immediately if you can or if you can’t get someone else to do it. Time is critical when dealing with fire, so you must act fast!
  • If there is any equipment that could cause major safety issues if left running during a fire, shut this down if it is safe to do so. If not you should notify the fire service straightaway on their arrival.
  • You may be able extinguish small fires if you have the correct fire fighting equipment on site and located nearby.
  • Only do this if you know what you are doing and you have a safe escape route. Use common sense, if it’s not safe make sure you get out and stay out!
  • Before you attempt to fight the fire, it is very important check that the type of fire extinguisher you plan to use is suitable for use on the fire. There should be guidelines to help you on the extinguisher itself and signage placed around the area it is stored.
  • Use caution, if you don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher safely, then it’s probably best not to. When using, remember to stand back. Fire extinguishers should be used at a safe distance of around 8-12 feet away from the fire.
  • If you’ve used up a whole fire extinguisher and the flames are still not out, then the fire is too big for you to put out safely and you must leave the building immediately.
  • Make your way to your nearest designated fire assembly point. On your way, close windows and doors behind you if possible, to limit the Oxygen supply and spread of flames.
  • Always use the stairs in the event of a fire and NEVER the lift! Many lifts automatically stop working and return to the ground floor when the fire alarm system is triggered.
  • If you believe someone is still trapped inside the building, check with fire marshals and then inform the fire service. Under no circumstances should you re-enter the building until the fire service have told you that it is safe to do so.
  • Don’t be a hero, the fire service are specially trained and have the appropriate equipment to rescue people from burning buildings. If you fail to take notice of this point you may actually put your own life and others in serious danger.

As they say, prevention is better than the cure and this is especially true in the case of fire. Every workplace should put in place fire protection measures, to reduce the risk of fire occurring and safeguard its employees.

Find out how your workplace can best protect itself against fire, with a fire risk assessment from our fully qualified fire protection specialists. At Euro Fire Protection we also offer a free site survey for your premises, contact us today to find out more and see what we can do to make your working environment a safer place.

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