6 Common Misunderstandings About Fire Safety in the Workplace

When it comes to health and safety in a workplace, fire safety and procedures are very important. You need to be sure that your employees are equipped with the tools and the training to handle any fire outbreak.

It is also important to realise what the best practices are and what are common misconceptions about fire safety that many people still believe. There should be no room for error in this department as if someone incorrectly believes something it could cause the fire to spread leading to increased property damage and even injuries or worse to those who work in the building.

1. Smoke alarms are all the protection my employees need

Smoke detectors are very effective in alerting people to a possible fire, however, they are not a fire prevention device. There is no point in a fire alarm sounding in a workplace for no one to act upon the alarm.

This is why proper training is required. Acting quickly and correctly upon hearing the fire alarm sound is imperative as seconds really do matter.

2. Sprinklers cause just as much damage as the fire

If this was true then they simply would not be in most buildings. When you think about the damage that water can do to electronics, art and books. You should also consider what a fire can do. It is much easier to recover data from a wet hard drive than one that has been burned in a fire. It is worth investing in an intelligent sprinkler system that will allow the sprinklers to identify where the fire is an keep the water localised to that area. This allows the fire to be extinguished while only damaging the contents of one small area of the building.

3. Fire is the leading cause of casualties

As many are already aware, the biggest cause of injury and death in a fire is smoke inhalation. It only takes a matter of minutes to begin to choke and fall unconscious while breathing in smoke. To protect your employees from harm, it is vital that they are aware of the dangers of smoke and to not allow themselves to become exposed to it for any period of time for any reason.

4. Fire extinguishers are all the same

This can be especially important if you are in a workplace that deals with chemicals. Some fire extinguishers are designed to put out specific types of fire. Besides fire extinguishers, just know there are many other types of heat resistant materials including fire blankets, firesleeves, and heat resistant tapes.

Adequate time needs to be taken to ensure that everyone knows which extinguisher is the right one for the type of fire they are looking at. Also, to use an extinguisher incorrectly can be dangerous too.

5. New buildings are really safe

This is almost true. Newer workplaces will have been designed with fire prevention in mind and will have fire exits clearly marked. This can make a great deal of difference should the worst happen. One thing to bear in mind is that it doesn’t matter how old or new the building is if the people inside it don’t know how to exit the building quickly and efficiently. Regular fire drills should be conducted so that leaving a building by the closest exit becomes second nature.

6. There will be panic

In the event of a fire, you may be surprised just how calm and collected everyone is. With regular fire prevention drills and plenty of practice, it can be really easy to maintain your cool as you know that you will be out of the building in a matter of seconds.

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