As a business owner, you have an undeniable responsibility to your employees: keeping them safe. Many business owners may make the salient point that they can’t control every aspect of safety – after all, sometimes disasters strike that are beyond our control, right? What about, say, a fire?
Let’s ignore the point that business owners can assist in preventing fires in the first place. Let’s just look at the event of a fire itself. Is it true that business owners are limited in how it can be dealt with when it does occur? Not exactly. An integral part of good office design is ensuring the safety of your employees in the case of fire, not just in preventing it in the first place. Efforts should, of course, concentrate largely on preventing them in the first place. But you absolutely must do everything you can to ensure that employees are actually able to remain safe if something does happen.
How Fire Behaves: It may sound strange to you that one should look closely at how fire “behaves” – but this is how any good fireproofing system and escape strategy is formulated! The fact is that fire isn’t the unpredictable, otherworldly force that people often make it out to be. What fire does in a given situation can be predicted if you know what materials are in play. After all, fire doesn’t do much except obey the laws of physics! This is why you may want to consult with a fire specialist – they can be found in the world of interior design or you can contact your local fire department.
Materials: To what extent are fireproof materials justified in an office environment? You may assume that pretty much everything should have flameproof technology present on it. But these materials actually present their own dangers in the form of toxins in the air. There are materials out there that can hold their own against fire for extended periods without the use of flameproof add-ons. Before getting any equipment, you should check with the manufacturer about any potential fire hazards.
Routes of Escape: Fire drills are all well and good but how can you ensure that the escape route itself is actually optimized? Fire drills will, of course, show any problems – the key is to actually know what sort of potential problems you should be looking out for. One of the most common is that of the doors between someone’s desk and the outside world. You need doors that strike a good balance between ease of use and sheer strength. You should consider taking a good look into door banks.
Suppression: Finally, there’s the question of how to actually tackle the fire. Which, by the way, you should ensure your employees don’t try to do unless they’ve been specifically trained to do so! Even then, there are better suppression methods if you want to keep everyone safe. Make sure you have a powerful misting system, as well as a good communication line to the local fire department.
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