When opening a retail store, it is essential to know that fire hazards are everywhere. You should know of potential fire hazards and how to shield your business against them to guarantee the safety of your customers and staff.
Due to this, ensure that you implement the following fire safety measures before opening your store.
1. Install Fire Detectors and Alarms
You should have a fire detection method that acts fast and raises the alarm on time. The chosen warning system should be audible throughout the store and provide sufficient warning for customers and staff to safely evacuate the building.
Train your staff on operating the fire detection system and how they should respond to it. Your fire alarms should be tested weekly to ensure that they are working correctly.
2. Fire Safety Signs
It would help if you had emergency fire signage at the store. The signage should be clear, legible, and understandable even for people with poor vision and those who speak English as a second or third language.
Emergency signage includes evacuation diagrams, fire emergency procedures, and site maps. Ensure that they have sufficient lighting to be visible in an emergency, especially if there is no power.
3. Fire Extinguishers
Have fire extinguishers suitably placed at the store. Ensure that those in charge of fire safety know how to use a fire extinguisher and differentiate the different types. Buy fire extinguishers suited for the fire risk you face; for example, offices need carbon dioxide extinguishers.
The fire extinguishers should be enough for your store, with one covering every 200 square meters.
4. Designate Fire Escape Routes
Ensure you have fire escape routes that are well lit with clear signs. You should plan the escape routes following the guidelines provided by your local fire authority.
5. Choose a Fire Warden
Your store should have a person in charge of checking fire safety and helping with evacuations if a fire breaks out. This individual is known as a fire warden. The fire warden should be trained in fire safety awareness, their role, and how to handle firefighting equipment.
6. Develop an Evacuation Strategy
All businesses should have an evacuation plan to ensure that customers and employees exit the building safely and efficiently during a fire. If you want people to evacuate your premises during a fire, creating an emergency evacuation plan (EAP) is imperative.
Your EAP should comply with industry best practices and OSHA requirements. Share your EAP with others in the store and place evacuation maps near main walkways and stairwells for easy access.
7. Train your Employees
One of the typical fire causes in the workplace is human error. Kitchen mishaps, improper storage of combustible materials, and mishandling chemicals are examples of how a fire can start.
Therefore, you should ensure to train your staff to dispose and store hazardous materials and properly operate machinery to reduce fire hazards. Explain the significance of adhering to safety procedures to mitigate negligent behavior that can cause a fire accident.