Fire Safety in the workplace is a crucial subject everyone has to be involved in. Usually, the owner, employer or landlord is in-charge of the fire safety in the building and is termed as the ‘responsible person’. In Singapore, public buildings from offices to private residential buildings are required to hold a Fire Certificate(FC) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force will conduct building inspections to ensure that fire protection systems have been installed and maintain well.
Should the building fail to meet the expectations of the inspection, the owner is required to rectify the problem quickly or they may face prosecution for running a building without holding a fire safety certificate.
So what can companies do to incorporate fire safety?
As the ‘responsible person’ or team, the management has the power and funds to implement fire safety measures that will be put into effect across the board. Here are some of them:Fire drills and evacuation plans
1. Fire drills and evacuation plans
Plotting an effective evacuation plan is important for swift escape when an emergency occurs. Apart from drawing up a good one, employers also have to make sure that every employee is aware of the plan. These maps and instructions should also be placed throughout the building for ease of access. The employers also have the liberty to incorporate fire drills in practice. Firstly, this is important to allow everyone to visualise what should happen when an emergency occurs and secondly, it is to find out if the evacuation procedure planned out is efficient or requires improvements.
2. Fire protection systems and equipment
As part of the building’s construction, fire protection systems have to be integrated as well. Fire safety equipment like water sprinklers, smoke control systems and fire alarm systems are essential systems that will help in fire emergencies. If your building contains a warehouse or a stock room, it is a good idea to implement fire resistant rolling shutters for these spaces. In the case where your good catch on fire, the shutters will be able to contain the fire within the warehouse itself.
3. Maintain your fire alarm system
Especially for large buildings, it will be a huge problem if the fire alarm malfunctions when there is a fire outbreak. Employers should conduct regular checks on the fire alarm system to ensure it is always in working order. It is also important to have a proper emergency announcement system to instruct the people in the building about the response to any alarms to maintain order within the building.
While employers or building owners are the main in-charges of fire safety, the rest of the people within the building have their part to play as well. Some of them are highlighted below:
1. Smoke responsibly
Within a building itself, there will be a designated area for smoking. The responsibilities of these smokers come with the discard of their cigarettes. Smokers have to ensure that they discard their cigarettes in proper bins and not simply throw them anyhow. It is essential that smokers make sure the cigarette butts are extinguished fully before they are thrown. There have been many instances where fires have been started from carelessly discarded cigarette butts.
2. Ensure that all rubbish are thrown responsibly
Some buildings produce a large amount of cardboard, wood or flammable waste. These can become a fire hazard if they are not properly discarded or are exposed to any open flames. In such cases, the rubbish area should be cleared out regularly.
It is in both the employers, building owners and the people using the building to take responsibility in fire safety. By ensuring that these measures are maintained and practised religiously, fire outbreaks can be prevented.