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Office Building Fire Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Office buildings typically hold hundreds of employees, multiple companies can be represented, all of which benefit from being housed under the same roof. It is an ideal setting from which to conduct business. Unfortunately, in the event of a fire, that setting can become the stage for chaos and panic, unless of course the occupants have taken the time to draw up a contingency plan for unexpected disasters.
How to Prepare Office Staff for Emergencies
Employee safety in the event of a fire is directly proportional to the amount of education and training the employee has received as it relates to such an event. Each company in any office building should have an emergency fire plan in place that is made available to all employees and staff. The plan should address all potential disaster that may affect the workplace as well as evacuation and recovery plans.
As such a plan relates to fire, employees should be trained on how to respond in the event of a fire. They should know where alarms are located and how to activate them as well as how to notify building security and calling for emergency responders. All emergency phone numbers should be clearly listed and visible in multiple locations throughout the office. Emergency evacuation routes should be planned and every employee should be familiar with them.
Alarms should be clearly recognizable as alarms in the event of an emergency. Employees should know that these alarms mean immediate evacuation. If possible, voice alarms should be utilized as they catch attention much more rapidly than a horn or buzzer. Alarms should be tested on a regular basis.
What Kind of Plans Should be Made
Any preparedness plan should be consistently updated to reflect changes in the workplace, such as additional construction that may affect predetermined evacuation routes, or any change in personnel and their corresponding responsibilities in case of fire.
Evacuation plans and diagrams should be clearly posted throughout the office, complete with a “You are here” indicator. Exits should be clearly marked, identifiable, and free from any obstruction. Many fire-related injuries and fatalities occur as a result of employees not being able to access emergency exits.
Periodic drills should be conducted to allow employees to become familiar with the fastest ways out of the office. Equipment such as fire extinguishers should be assigned to various employees as needed and proper training provided on the use of this equipment. The local fire department can be of invaluable service when it comes to coordinating a plan and training employees on how to execute it.
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