Most Common Fire Safety Mistakes in Commercial Properties
Fires can have devastating effects on commercial properties. In addition to causing personal injury to occupants, these disasters can considerably damage properties. While many commercial property owners fail to recover after such an event, others know best and turn to commercial fire damage restoration experts.
As a commercial property owner or multi-property operator, fire safety must be among your top priorities. Otherwise, people working in your buildings or occupants residing there won’t feel safe, jeopardizing your business and profits. Find out the most common fire safety mistakes that commercial property owners make to avoid facing such a tragic fate.
Common Fire Safety Mistakes
MISTAKE #1: Abuse of Extension Cables
Having access to as many plug sockets as required is a must in properties such as office spaces and buildings in the hospitality sector. Yet, the extension lead situation can quickly get out of hand if not handled with care. Since overloading extension cables can significantly compromise a building’s fire safety strategy, employees and occupants should use them sparingly.
Aside from increasing the danger of electrical shock and fire, abuse of extension cables can cause the overloaded electrical sockets to overheat and catch fire.
People living or working in your buildings can avoid these scenarios by setting up designated charging ports. Since you won’t be there to check if occupants follow the rules, managers in all your buildings should enforce a strict policy to prevent employees from charging appliances at their desks.
MISTAKE #2: Forgetting About Fire Safety Inspections
Fire inspections are a crucial part of a building’s maintenance. Unfortunately, many commercial property owners neglect fire safety inspections in favor of other building improvements that provide immediate and tangible benefits. However, neglecting this responsibility increases the chances of a fire and puts building occupants at risk.
All buildings in your portfolio need regular fire safety inspections like a car needs a regular oil change. Annual fire safety inspections ensure your buildings’ fire detection systems are running at optimum capacity.
During the inspection process, the fire engineer looks for potential hazards that increase your risk of fires and other fire-related dangers, such as wiring misuse or accumulated waste. They’ll inspect fire safety equipment to ensure it’s working correctly, and they can also develop an evacuation plan for building occupants.
Besides being essential to your buildings’ staff and occupants, having a fire inspection done periodically allows you and your properties to stay compliant with local regulations and codes. Commercial property owners need to do take this measure and carry out more regular audits as things change in their buildings to avoid paying hefty fines and to keep their reputations intact.
MISTAKE #3: Neglecting Regular Fire Alarm Drills
While some fire safety missteps are associated with the building’s fire safety features, other issues are related to how building occupants react to a fire emergency. It’s important to note people can’t always think clearly in a crisis. If they’re not ready to respond, the results could be disastrous. For this reason, people working and living in your buildings should be trained on what to do if the infrastructure ever catches fire. Fire alarm drills are even more important if the layout is different across all your premises.
Even though commercial property owners won’t be there to oversee the training, they should a policy to train building occupants on fire safety. The training should include how to use fire extinguishers, where the fire exits and fire assembly points are, and what is the proper protocols in the event of a commercial fire. While most building owners carry out fire alarm drills once a year, people in charge of managing your commercial properties may need to do this process every three months, depending on the fire risk assessment.
MISTAKE #4: Not Having a Clear Evacuation Plan
All your buildings should follow an evacuation plan that includes more than just getting out of the building premises. For example, it should indicate the person in charge of the evacuation, what your employees should do if that person isn’t there, and whom to contact for help when people require assistance leaving the building.
It’s worth noting that a fire safety strategy is at risk if an employee or occupant isn’t aware of the items included in your fire evacuation plan. Therefore, consider asking managers in your buildings to incorporate fire safety training into onboarding process of new staff.
MISTAKE #5: Having Cluttered Corridors and Escape Routes
Are stacks of discarded boxes, overflowing waste paper bins, and supplies blocking your corridors? Owners with a portfolio of office spaces, municipal facilities, schools, and airports tend to have this problem. Leaving these flammable items lying around in a facility can be a serious fire safety concern. Besides posing a fire risk in itself and causing fire to spread rapidly, clutter could easily cause occupants to trip or become trapped in the event of a fire. Not only do commercial property owners become liable for damages, but they could also end up facing substantial fines.
Commercial property owners can’t constantly supervise all their buildings to make sure this isn’t an issue. Yet, it’s essential to assign managers who can keep walkways and escape routes clear and the fire exit signage readable. They should also check fire doors regularly to make sure they’re functional and unlocked in case of a fire emergency.
Do You Need Commercial Fire Damage Restoration Service?
Aside from causing great personal and emotional distress to employees and occupants of commercial buildings, fires can cause significant property damage. No matter how large or small a commercial fire may be or if it has only affected one of your buildings; it can still halt businesses and negatively impact revenue. Furthermore, the toll can be devastating, and the clean-up and repair can involve a complicated process.
If your commercial property has suffered through a fire, BlueTeam has you covered. It’s our business to get you back in business as soon as possible. As a general contracting firm that works exclusively with commercial portfolio owners and operators, we address fire damage issues and eliminate such risks as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Our emergency response team can work on your property within hours and minutes following an unplanned event – not days and weeks like many others in this space. We specialize in customized solutions to ensure your property will return to its pre-loss condition or better. Contact us today to learn more about our services, request information, or a quote.