Technology has significantly improved workplace fire safety over the years. One of the most important tech components in effective office safety is the fire alarm system. A well maintained and properly used fire alarm will provide early warning if a fire breaks out and give occupants of the premises the time to escape. It could literally be a life saver.
It’s important to ensure that you have the right fire alarm system in place for the building. The size of the premises, as well as its occupancy, and the use of different areas will define where the best locations are for fire alarms, as well as where they are not required. Keep the system simple and appropriate to workplace need. Equally as important is the installation of the system – work with a competent and accredited contractor to design and install fire alarms for your workplace so that you know the system is appropriate and correctly fitted.
Maintaining your fire alarm
Maintenance should be a top priority – investment in fire safety equipment is wasted if it is not properly maintained. A maintenance schedule will be important to keep track of how, when and by whom the fire alarm has been checked and maintained. Allocate the responsibility for maintenance to one specific person so that it doesn’t end up being overlooked.
Regular fire risk assessment
Checking and maintaining your fire alarm should be part of the fire risk assessments that are required by law. A fire risk assessment is designed to identify fire hazards within a building, as well as the people at risk. It will also look at ways of removing or reducing those risks, which will include fire alarms in the building. Your fire alarm system should also feature as part of the detection process in your Emergency Plan – i.e. the process that needs to be followed if there is a fire or the indication of a fire.
Awareness of false alarms
Understanding how to manage a false alarm is an important part of fire alarm management. The majority of alarm alerts are not real fires – the alarm can be triggered by cigarette smoke or aerosols, for example. However, there are also examples where people have died as a result of assuming a warning was “just another false alarm.” So, it’s important to have a system in place to deal with false alarms.
There are a number of ways to reduce false alarms including ensuring that you have the appropriate fire alarms for the workplace, maintaining the alarms on a regular basis and tracking and monitoring false alarm occurrences to see if there is a common cause that can be eliminated.
Training is key
To achieve the full effectiveness of a fire alarm system your staff need to be trained to respond in the right way. Run regular tests and drills so that employees know what to do if they hear the fire alarm, when to stay put and when to evacuate.
Working with a consultant can ensure that you have the right fire alarms for your premises and that these are properly maintained. Contact Hillmoore Fire to find out more.