Fire safety in all buildings is important, but when it comes to fire safety in factories and warehouses, there is a risk not only to lives but also to a business’ main assets. Whether it’s machinery or stock, even a small fire could impact these elements of a business with catastrophic impact on revenue and productivity.
This is why it’s important to remember the basics of fire safety in warehouses and factories (and indeed all buildings) to ensure that fire risks are minimized as much as possible. Here are 10 things to consider for factory and warehouse fire safety:
- Fire Extinguishers − You should have at least one extinguisher near the entrance and exit of a building and at least one on every floor. Fire extinguishers should be checked regularly to ensure they are fully charged and not past their use by date. You also need to ensure that everyone in the building knows how to properly use them, as well as the location of fire extinguishers so people can find them quickly if there is a fire.
- Emergency Exits − It’s vital that there is a clear and accessible route to all exits and an obvious outside exit in case of emergency with no obstructions. There needs to be at least two exits per floor, with one positioned close to the ground, and another on a higher level so you can escape from all levels in case of fire.
- You should also provide skylights, balcony doors and windows to give people two routes of escape if the emergency exit becomes blocked by any reason.
- Ceilings − The ceilings of a building need to be able to withstand the pressure caused by firefighting equipment like hoses or extinguishers used during an emergency. If the ceilings are not strong enough to take this pressure, they may collapse and pose a significant risk to life safety.
- Ventilation − It is important that ventilation ducts leading outside are big enough for people to escape through if necessary. You should also make sure there aren’t any shafts or flues within five meters of a place where combustible materials are stored to avoid the risk of fire.
- Openings − You need to ensure doors and windows can be opened from the inside during an emergency without locks or bolts, or there should be at least one door that can open both ways in case of fire.
- Walls & Floors − You should make sure that there are no exposed electrical wires or cables, or places where they could come into contact with combustible materials. Your walls and floors need to be strong enough to prevent the spread of fire, avoid arranging flammable items close together and ensure anything flammable is well ventilated.
- Lighting − The lighting of your building needs to be able to provide sufficient general and emergency illumination for everyone in the building. This means you need to ensure there are no uncovered light bulbs or that there aren’t too many lights too close together. Emergency lighting should run off an independent electricity supply that is automatically activated when energy failure occurs.
- Fire Exit Signs − It’s necessary to have clearly visible signs indicating fire escape routes. This helps people get out of the building quickly, but should also ensure that firefighters are able to reach essential areas in case of an emergency.
- Floor Protection − If your warehouse or factory has vulnerable floors, you need to protect them with non-combustible materials. This includes floor coverings, walls and stairs.
Fire safety is vital for warehouses and factories to ensure that the main assets of a business are protected in case of fire. If you follow these essential guidelines then you can better protect your employees and your inventory from a potentially deadly situation.