A lot of us know the most basic fire safety tips, like the "Stop, Drop and Roll" technique and keeping curtains away from heaters. But, not everyone has as much fire safety knowledge as they could, and in the workplace it's important that everyone in on the same page when it comes to fire safety policies and procedures. That's why you should make it a point to educate staff on fire safety with easy-to-follow training programs and drills.
Don't assume prior knowledge
We've all done dozens of fire drills at school, right? We all know what causes fires, right? Most people know these things to a certain extent, but an important part of fire safety education is not to make assumptions. Don't leave important information out of the program just because it seems obvious; the people who don't know will learn, and for the ones who already know, it never hurts to refresh their memory.
A few examples of what your employees should know include: the three "ingredients" that create fire (heat, fuel, and an oxidizing agent), objects in the workplace that could potentially act as those ingredients (lightbulbs for heat, paper for fuel, etc.) and how removing one of the ingredients can help extinguish the fire quickly. Staff should also know where fire safety equipment in the office is located, including escape routes, fire extinguishers, and smoke alarms.
It's one thing to know how to get out of the building and where your emergency meeting point is; it's another to put it into action. Conduct fire drills at least twice a year to make sure all employees are familiar with evacuation procedures and know how to get out quickly.
You should set a timer and see how long it takes for everyone to arrive at the meeting point; if it takes longer than you'd like, then it's time to examine your workplace and procedure and figure out what could be causing the problem. Are certain employees sitting too far away from the closest escape route? Is there a table blocking the path unnecessarily? Or maybe someone has an injured leg which makes it difficult to take the stairs? Whatever the problem, it's important to address it now before that fire drill is no longer a drill.
Keep everyone informed
When you plan fire safety courses or drills, it's a good idea to spread the word in advance so everyone knows what to expect. You don't need to give the exact date and time of the fire drill, but letting everyone know that a fire drill will occur in the next few days will give people time to bring up questions or concerns in advance. This feedback may help in future evaluations of the fire drill procedure or even let you know to address critical issues right away.
On the other hand, send a message or two to all your employees and let them know exactly when and where fire safety training will take place. You can also take the opportunity to poll employees on the topics they'd like to learn most about, or gather questions to prepare ahead of time. Send these messages out through multiple communication methods if you can, and keep each employee's preferred communication method on hand so you know how to best reach them.
When it comes to fire safety programs and procedures, consistency is key. Scheduling these awareness events throughout the year and informing employees ahead of time will contribute greatly to making your workplace safer.
Centralize your fire safety awareness communications
Whether you're informing employees about the next fire safety course or sending out a poll for suggestions, you'll want a mass communication system that will allow you to reach everyone with ease. EmergHub provides a number of mass communication tools, including Alerts to send messages by everyone's preferred communication methods and Live Survey to create surveys for easy feedback. Plus, because it's designed with emergency communication in mind, it will be useful during a real fire too.