Trying to keep employees, visitors, and workers safe is both a legal and moral obligation for business owners, health and safety officers, and the dedicated ‘responsible person’. But workplace fire safety can be a confusing issue! Different regulations, options, and innovations can be hard to keep on top of. We’re here to help, with the essentials you need to keep your workplace fire safe.
Workplace Fire Safety Essentials
There are, of course, different requirements and suitable equipment for each industry. A qualified fire risk assessor can help you establish the risks of your workplace and provide advice on how to combat these risks.
There are some key essentials that every workplace needs, regardless of whether it is an office, warehouse, factory, or public building, though.
We’re going to focus on these workplace fire safety essentials in this blog but you can find out more about your industry specifically on the Firechief website.
Relevant Fire Extinguishers
Every workspace needs at least one fire extinguisher.
The number and different types of extinguishers required will depend on the size of your premises and the fire risks related to your office, factory, or warehouse.
There are lots of fire extinguisher options out there: foam, powder, CO2, wet chem, PFAS free foam, water, water mist…and that’s before you start factoring in the difference in sizes!
Thankfully we have a useful blog that details which fire extinguisher/s are needed for each type of fire. From this, you’ll be able to judge which would best suit your workplace and the specific fire risks.
A quick round up is as follows:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguisher: Ideal for all electrical risks and where oils and spirits etc are in use as it is harmless to delicate equipment and materials.
- Foam Fire Extinguisher: A good solution for multi-risk usage.
- Wet Chemical Extinguisher:Will cool burning oils and reduce re-ignition of the flames.
- Water Fire Extinguisher: A well performing, multiple purpose extinguisher.
- Water Additive Fire Extinguisher: Contains a powerful 'EcoSpray' additive and works well where manual handling restrictions apply.
- Powder Fire Extinguisher: Can tackle most fires which involve wood, paper, flammable liquids and electrics. Powder Fire extinguishers can also be used on vehicle fires and can be stored in cars or commercial vehicles.
Lithium-ion Battery Fire Fighting Products
Lithium-ion batteries power a vast range of devices we use daily, from smartphones and laptops to power tools and electric vehicles. While these batteries offer convenience and efficiency, they also carry a potential risk of fire when overcharged, improperly stored, or damaged.
A single battery malfunction can quickly escalate into a devastating fire, putting lives at risk and causing irreparable damage to your business.
There are multiple products that can help reduce the risk of battery fires, such as storage bags, and suppression granules, and products that can help fight the fires once they’ve started.
To find out more, there is a wealth of knowledge on batteryfiresafety.co.uk.
The majority of workplaces have a kitchen or canteen area.
No kitchen area is complete without a fire blanket to smother flames should the need arise.
But not just used for kitchens, fire blankets can also be used to smother flames on a person, for instance, when their clothes have caught fire.
A fire blanket is an adaptable and flexible piece of fire-fighting equipment. Available in a range of sizes and in either a hard or soft case, the blanket is accessed simply by pulling on the Velcro strips.
To learn about all things fire blankets, check out this blog.
Fire Alarm Systems
Fire alarms are essential for every building in a business and should be tested weekly.
There are a wide range of fire alarm systems out there with both battery and mains power operation.
Visual alarms are also extremely useful for warehouses and factories as they offer a dual warning with the use of red LED technology as well as an audible alarm to draw the attention of all employees in its range.
The many options available can be confusing, we have a quick guide to commercial fire alarm systems here to help.
Fire Exit Signs
Fire exit signs are essential for all businesses to guide users to the correct exit.
Panic, and the instinct to use the usual exit when the fire alarm sounds, can lead to awful consequences. Minimise these risks as much as possible with clear, easy-to-follow signage which can direct people to the safest route.
You can get emergency exit boxes and exit hanging signs which use long-life LEDs for maximum durability. There are many options to suit every workplace.
A comprehensive guide to fire safety signs can be found here.
During a fire, there is an increased risk of the main power supply cutting out.
Emergency lighting can be crucial for employees and customers to exit the building safely.
But the function of emergency lighting is not to illuminate a building when the power goes out. The role of emergency lighting is to illuminate key areas that are required in an emergency.
There are lots of options to choose from. Some can operate in emergency mode for up to 3 hours, or maybe more in some cases!
You can read this blog for more information on this important subject.
Fire Safety Logbooks and Cabinets
Each workplace has essential documentation relating to fire safety that should be kept secure.
It is crucial to keep all documents that a fire officer would need, such as Fire Safety Logbooks, fire equipment maintenance records, and plans relating to the building, in a safe place.
Logbooks and lockable fire safety document storage cabinets can be bought online or in stores to ensure that all your information is in one place.
Not convinced? Read our full blog here.
First Aid Kits
Accidents of all kinds occur, and having a first aid kit with all its contents intact is essential.
Over the years, various bits and pieces may have been used but not replaced.
However, you are also accountable for replacing expired or used products. So make sure you regularly note what is missing to ensure that your business is prepared for any accident!
Useful Workplace Fire Safety Resources
- Fire safety in the workplace – Gov.uk
- Firechief – I need to protect…
- Fire Extinguishers – Types & Uses
- Firechief Lith-ex Extinguisher - Video
- Lithium-ion battery fire suppression granules for the workplace
- Fire Blankets – What you need to know
- Why is emergency lighting important?
- The 5 biggest workplace fire hazards – IFSEC Insider
- A quick guide to commercial fire alarm systems
- Fire safety signs – clearing the confusion
- Why you should consider using fire logbooks and document cabinets
Fire Depot has been the UK's favourite fire safety supplier for over 50 years, we know the fire protection and prevention business inside out. Our experienced team can offer advice and guidance about any of our fire safety products. For expert help and advice, please contact the Fire Depot team on 0330 999 2233, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.firedepot.co.uk/ to see our full range of fire safety products.
The information contained within this blog is provided solely for general informational and educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions based upon this information, we advise the reader to consult any and all relevant statutory or regulatory guidance and where felt necessary to consult a qualified fire or industry regulation professional. The use or reliance on any information contained herein is solely at the reader’s risk.