As a business owner, you likely have a lot on your plate, especially if it is a small business which you practically run by yourself. However, even in that case, fire safety is not something you can just skip over and neglect.
In fact, you are legally obligated to have a fire safety plan and probably some other fire related things, depending on where you live in the USA. However complicated or abstract coming up with a fire safety plan may sound, it is really not that complicated if you put a bit of effort and thought in it. There are fire safety companies that can help you with this, or you can try following these guidelines and set up everything on your own.
Building Description: Your fire safety plan needs to start with the general description of the building. Parameters like the size, type, and occupant number of the building need to be clearly listed. It is also a good idea to put in some basic information like the type of heating you have installed (due to the possibility of gas explosions) and the location of your electrical installations (in case of an electrical fire).
If your building has a fire safety system, like a sprinklers system or a simple fire alarm, it should be stated here as well. Fire extinguishers need to be listed here as well, including their type and purpose and any other fire management method your building may have. If there is a place which would be particularly dangerous during a fire, like a gas storage area, it needs to be clearly stated in the plan.
Personnel Instructions: The next part concerns the people who are present in the office when the fire starts. They need to know what to do. You can have them trained by fire safety experts to be able to prevent the spread of fires, but they need to have clear instructions what to do. Typically it is to leave the immediate area of the fire, set off a fire alarm, and contact 911. If the fire is small and can be contained by the use of fire extinguishers, a trained person can do it.
If the fire is beyond putting out by a fire extinguisher, leaving the building is a priority for everyone. There needs to be a designated gathering place to ensure that you can account for every person and inform the fire department about any stragglers who may still be inside. This will shift the focus of fire department from putting out the fire to saving those who are trapped inside.
Responsibilities and Fire Hazards: A good thing to add to the fire plan are the direct obligations and responsibilities of all parties, including the owner and the occupants. These responsibilities are largely logical and concern the creation and adherence to the fire safety plan, as well as identifying and securing the potential fire hazards.
Some businesses have profession-specific fire hazards at the workplace and the fire safety plan needs to clearly state that. The fire department will need to know what they are facing if a fire occurs.
Fire Drills: Most people don’t like fire drills, but they are very important for safety. The whole fire safety plan is just on paper until you see whether you are able to do it in action. Everybody needs to do their part and follow the instructions laid out in the fire safety plan. If the fire actually happens, people will know where to go and what to do because they have actually done it before in a safe environment.