It’s Fire Prevention Week and as you probably know by now, the theme for this year is, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere”. Although, we usually focus on preventing the spread of fire and smoke through the use of fire barrier management, it is also important to talk about fire prevention. So this week, we wanted to remind everybody of the different ways you can help prevent a fire from happening in the workplace.
The first step is knowing what the fire risks are, which can change from season to season. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, autumn is the peak season for cooking related fires. Otherwise, fire incidences are at its lowest during these months. However, as we move into late fall and into winter, heating−related structure fires start to increase. So, what steps can you take to help prevent a fire from happening?
1. Never Leave Cooking Unattended
The kitchen is where heat, electricity, water, and grease come together, and can be a potential fire hazard. Often times, you leave the kitchen to work on a task while waiting for your food to finish cooking. No big deal, right? However, leaving food unattended while cooking allows for a fire to start from overheating a pan or if electricity comes into contact with water.
If there is a reason to leave the kitchen and nobody else can watch your food, make sure to turn off the stove and take your pots and pans off the heat. If you are cooking food in the oven, take the food out of the oven and turn off the broiler.
2. Check and Fix Damaged Electronics
Most buildings use some kind of electrical equipment, which means there is already the risk of a fire starting from an electrical source. However, you probably don’t think about checking the electrical equipment for faulty wiring or improper use of electrical outlets. But all it takes is one spark for something flammable to start a fire.
Check to see if wires have become worn, cut or damaged during use. Replace plugs that produce sparks when plugged into an outlet. If these hazards are found, they should be fixed or properly disposed of to prevent workplace fires.
3. Dispose of Cigarettes Safely
Some of the most tragic fires have been due to cigarettes that have not been properly disposed. Too often, cigarettes are thrown away that have not been completely extinguished. Although the cigarette may seem out, cigarette ashes can continue to burn and will ignite anything flammable they come into contact with.
Designate certain areas for smoking with proper disposal bins and no flammable materials nearby. Make sure that a cigarette has been completely put out in order to prevent the possibility of something catching fire.
4. Keep Combustible Dust under Control
Most Industrial facilities create large amounts of dust, which often times are not properly cleaned. If these dust accumulations are not cleaned correctly, it can remain in the air and collect on high surfaces. This allows for combustible dust clouds to form, which puts your building at risk of a fire from a combustible dust explosion.
Performing normal housekeeping duties isn’t enough to keep combustible dust from collecting. Call a professional to clean your dust with an explosion proof equipment to help prevent workplace fires.