Fire Safety Month (Offices) – Office Fires: What to do and how to prevent

by Michael Addison in Safety | posted:

fire safety office

Office Fires: the common causes

The first step in fire prevention is identifying the potential hazards in your office workplace. The fire safety advice centre suggests offices are a moderate fire risk primarily due to worker carelessness.

The four main causes of an office fire are the following:

  1. Smoking Materials carelessly discarded
  2. Cooking Appliances left on and unattended
  3. Faulty Electrical Appliances
  4. Stationery and paper kept near flammable liquids

office fire

How to minimise fire risks

  1. Put up signs encouraging employees to stub out their cigarettes.
  2. Install and test your fire alarm (The fire safety order act states to test this once a week).
  3. Conduct a visual check of any electrical wiring. Any unauthorised devices such as employee phones chargers should be PAT tested to ensure workplace safety.
  4. Have a fire risk assessment conducted, this will identify risks and help to prepare an emergency escape route plan.

What to do in the event of an office fire

Within your office, you should have both a passive and active fire prevention system in place. The difference between the two are:

Passive prevention

This dampens and prevents the spread of fire such as the placement of fire doors.

Active prevention

This is used to notify in the event of an emergency, like fire and smoke alarms. Active prevention can also mean the use of fire extinguishers.

We have compiled a list of what fire extinguisher for which situation here.

However, tackling a fire shouldn’t be done without authorisation first from an appointed fire safety officer or managerial staff. You should first ensure your employees are fully aware of the escape route procedures.

escape office fire

How do I make sure these devices are in good working order?

Fire Extinguishers – Annual inspections ensure extinguishers are in safe working order. The inspections take in all aspects of the extinguisher like pins, gauges and protective seals.

Fire Alarms – British standards recommend your fire alarm testing should happen at least twice a year. When testing fire alarms, this includes inspecting the mains panel, battery and glass units. Testing takes place within one working day.

Emergency Lighting –  Emergency lighting allows employees to seek out escape routes in the vent of an emergency.

Fire Doors – The 2008 Codes of practice requires fire doors to be properly maintained. This takes place by examining the quality of the hinges, latches and quality of pull handles.

We also supply fire protection aids such as: