According to the the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in 2006 there were 1.6 million fires resulting in property damages estimated at $11.3 billion.
Over the same period, fire was the cause of 16,400 injuries and 3,245 civilian deaths. Additionally, 106 firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty.
The USFA also reports that in 2006 more Americans died as a result of fire than from all other natural disasters combined (for the year).
Most fires and fire related injuries are attributed to a lack of fire safety knowledge, disregarding safety procedures, or simply using poor judgment during a fire emergency.
Raising fire safety awareness among workers and employees is, therefore, one of the most important steps you can take to prevent fire related accidents from occurring.
To promote year round fire safety awareness, the Office of The State Fire Marshall, Washington, suggests that each month of the year be dedicated to a particular aspect of fire safety. They also have a Fire Safety Calendar on their web site that you can use as a template.
However, the calendar addresses fire safety for homes and is not entirely suitable for businesses. We have, therefore, prepared a calendar, see below, which is more suited to the workplace.
Please feel free to adapt the calendar for the needs of your business. You may also find the US Fire Administration’s This is Fire: A Factsheet on the Nature of Fire and FEMA’s Fire Safety Program Toolkit useful.
|Fire Safety Awareness Calendar||January||Holiday Lights||Put away holiday lights. Inspect cords, sockets and plugs. Discard, replace or repair worn or frayed parts. Unplug and stow away all extension cords and unused multi-plugs.|
|February||Office Appliances & Electrical Fixtures||Examine office appliances and electrical fixtures, such as coffee machines, reading lamps and chargers, for frayed cords and worn-out plugs. Check for too many cords in wall sockets or extensions.|
|March||Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms||Replace batteries and test smoke detectors. Have fire alarms inspected and tested. Check for unobstructed access to fire hoses, reels, extinguishers, and fire alarm break glasses.|
|April||Emergency Information||Ensure emergency numbers and information about emergency procedures are posted in appropriate places, such as beside telephones and in lobbies, rest rooms, elevators, and other public areas. Check that building and room numbers are readable and clearly visible.|
|May||Garage & Indoor Parking Areas||Spring clean garages and indoor parking areas. Remove built up oil, grease and other combustibles. Ensure there is no build-up of waste or trash in hidden areas such as under stairwells.|
|June||Fire Exits & Emergency Lighting||Check exits are clear, visible, not blocked or locked and correctly marked. Check all emergency lighting is working.|
|July||Emergency & Evacuation Plans||Review emergency & evacuation plans with employees. Rehearse emergency drills if appropriate. Ensure employees are aware of the location of fire extinguishers, fire break glasses, and emergency exit doors.|
|August||Flammable Items||Check all flammable items, specially liquids, are stored in proper containers and that containers are undamaged and clearly labeled.|
|September||Heating Equipment||Have heating systems inspected before using them for the winter. If portable heaters are in use, ensure they are positioned safely (remove unauthorized portable heaters).|
|October||Housekeeping||Any boxes, equipment or furniture that has been placed in a hallway or stairwell should be removed. Be sure that all combustibles are at least 36 inches from any heat source.|
|November||Electrical Sockets||Audit the use of electrical sockets to prevent overload. Ensure holiday decorations do not cause fire hazards.|
|December||Fire Extinguishers||Check that all fire extinguishers are up to date and have been regularly serviced. Ensure estinguishers are mounted properly and free from obstructions.|
Here are some links to of Fire Safety & Prevention training materials we offer: