About Fire Prevention Week
Since 1922, the NFPA has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.
Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.
Importance of fire prevention
In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week™ to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.
Top 10 Ways to prevent fires in the workplace
- Accessible Equipment
Make sure all of your fire protection equipment (ie fire extinguishers, control panels, etc.) are easily accessible. Also don’t block the fire sprinklers or fire alarms with anything, such as dust, debris or paint. You don’t want to hinder the functionality of your equipment.
- Proper Disposal
Discard of any hazardous waste in a metal container that has a lid. Hazardous waste can include anything from oils to chemicals. Even flammable and combustible materials should be properly disposed of in order to prevent fire hazards.
- Regular Maintenance
Schedule regular maintenance services for all of your fire protection equipment to make sure everything is up to code. It’s also smart to make sure any machines in your building are properly maintained in order to prevent overheating or sparks created from friction.
- Safe Storage
If you have chemicals, flammable materials or other hazardous substances in your building, you will want to make sure they are stored in a safe place. Make sure they are in a dry, secure closet or room that has adequate ventilation. It’s also a good idea to keep fire protection equipment for flammable substances near the storage area just in case.
- Clean Environment
There are many reasons that you should keep your building neat and tidy. One of the main reasons is because when there’s a lot of clutter, especially flammable materials such as paper, boxes, etc., then a fire can spread faster. The clutter could also block exits and make it harder to escape if there is a fire. So make sure to keep the inside of your building clean and clutter free.
- Precautionary Measures
Fire safety demonstrations can go a long way when it comes to the safety of your building. Make sure to teach building occupants how to react to a fire and how to use a fire extinguisher, along with the other fire protection devices. This can help to prevent a fire from spreading if one does occur in your building.
- Building Security
Arson is one of the leading causes of building and structure fires. That’s why it’s so important to invest in building security. Building occupants should know to lock up the building behind them and they should know how to report suspicious behavior or people if they see something a little off.
- Designated Smoking Area
There should be a designated smoking area that’s a safe distance away from the building. Also make sure to provide ashtrays or other safe options for people to properly extinguish and dispose of their cigarettes. This will help keep your building safe from accidental fires caused by lit cigarettes.
- Emergency Plan
Emergency and evacuation plans are important to prevent further damages or issues if there’s a fire. It’s important that if someone needs to call for help, they know what to do, how to easily find the building address, and what the next steps should be. Fire prevention is just as important after a fire has already started because it can reduce the risk of it spreading, which can lead to more damages.
- Adhere to OSHA & NFPA Guidelines
Today there are safety standards and regulations put in place to help businesses better prevent fires in the workplace. Both OSHA and NFPA provide a set of rules and guidelines to ensure fire protection and safety. You’ll want to make sure that you meet all of their requirements to remain up to code and secure.