Fire Safety Equipment Every Workplace Should Have

The safety of your workforce should be one of the major things on your mind as an employer or building manager. If a fire breaks out, it’s a ticking time bomb before a fire can become overwhelming, leading to extensive property damage and injury or fatalities. It is required by law to have the correct fire safety equipment in commercial properties and the workplace, otherwise, businesses would not be able to operate.  

There are many different fire safety equipment that can be installed and utilised for the workplace, and here at FPC, we understand the best equipment to use, that can help reduce the spread of smoke and fire if one ever broke out. In this blog, we want to help you know what the best equipment to own in your workplace is, and how effective they can be in preventing and stopping fires, as well as helping to save lives.  

Fire extinguishers 

The first solution on our list is perhaps the most common type of measure to tackle a fire. You’ve likely seen fire extinguishers in every type of commercial building you walk into, and if you’ve ever taken part in fire safety training, you will most like have learned about the different types of fire extinguishers. 

There are six different classes of fire types with each different extinguisher being used for one or more of the fire types. The six different fire types include: 

  • Combustible materials (Class A) – Fires caused by flammable materials such as wood, paper and textiles. 
  • Flammable liquids (Class B) – These can be liquids such as petrol, paint and spirits. 
  • Flammable gasses (Class C) – Butane and methane fall into this category. 
  • Flammable metals (Class D) – Lithium, magnesium and potassium are all flammable metals. 
  • Electrical fires (Class E) – Computers, printers, servers and other electrical equipment can cause this type of fire. 
  • Cooking oils (Class F) – Olive oil, butter, and other oils used in food service sectors are most at risk from this type of fire. 

It is vital that you use an appropriate fire extinguisher for the specific type of fire that breaks out. Fire extinguishers should only be used for relatively small fires and when the user of the extinguisher is sure they can contain the fire. There are five types of fire extinguishers that include: 

  • Water – This type is best used for class A fires and can be used in schools, hospitals, offices and shops.  
  • Foam – Foam extinguishers benefit the use on both class A and class B fires and can be installed in several environments and workplaces.  
  • Dry powder – The dry powder fire extinguisher is one of the most versatile types, as it can be used on all classes of fires – except class F which is cooking oils. Dry powder extinguishers are ideal for garages, boiler rooms, welding businesses and LPG plants.  
  • CO2 – A carbon dioxide extinguisher is best installed in offices or environments that have electrical equipment, and works by eliminating the fire with Co2, causing the oxygen to be displaced. 
  • Wet chemical – This is the only fire extinguisher suitable for cooking oil fires and is vital to have in kitchen environments. It can also be used on organic materials and has a yellow-coloured label. 

No matter the fire extinguisher you have in your workplace, they must be commissioned by law and adhere to fire safety in the workplace legislation, meaning they have been assessed that they are in complete working order.  

Fire alarms and smoke detectors 

If a fire breaks out in the workplace, you’ll want to be alerted as soon as possible to ensure safe evacuation and that the proper measures are followed. The most effective way to be alerted by smoke or heat caused by a fire is a fire alarm system and smoke detectors. Fire alarms, smoke detectors or a combination of both will be installed over areas where a fire would most likely break out. If triggered, it will need to be loud and provide a visual alert to the occupants inside the building. Maintenance and regular testing are key to ensuring that this system is always working functionally. The spread of smoke and fire can happen extremely quickly before people have time to realise the extent of them both. A fire alarm system and smoke detectors are often the first warning sign people will notice and they help to save lives. They are especially useful in larger, multi-story work environments where they can alert those who are not near the fire outbreak. 

Emergency exit signs and lighting 

Fires can cause a variety of other issues within a workplace building. Smoke can suffocate the room in darkness and power outages are common with electrical fires, for example. Visibility will be minimal if this occurs and ensuring proper lighting in these events is a must. Emergency lighting can be activated in the event of a power cut and fire, enabling a safer evacuation. These systems are best placed over doorways, staircases, corridors and other critical exit point areas. They can often be automatically activated during power cuts and are typically battery powered.  

Fire suppression and sprinkler systems 

If a workplace has one installed, a fire suppression system will effectively control or even extinguish fires, which will help prevent additional damage to the property and help aid in the evacuation of employees and other occupants. Depending on your environment and what industry you are a part of, you’ll want to install the correct type of fire suppression system. It’s much like using the correct type of fire extinguisher on the correct fire type. It’s important to assess whether you will need a gas extinguishing system, a water mist system or a condensed aerosol system.  

You can speak to the specialists here at FPC to help guide you on what the best-suited system will be for your environment.  

Fire blankets and first aid kits 

In addition to using fire extinguishers for small and more contained fires, fire blankets are made from materials such as fibreglass that can be effectively used to smother a small fire before it becomes a larger danger. To deploy a fire blanket, all that is required is to pull the tapes to release the blanket from the box. You can place the blanket over the fire to smother the blaze, or effectively use it as a shield by wrapping it around yourself and others. They are often regarded as one of the most user-friendly pieces of fire safety equipment, all while being extremely effective at helping to control small fires and provide protection to the user.  

Although they’re not strictly fire safety equipment, first aid kits are vital in every workplace to give prompt medical treatment in the case of a fire or other incidents. First aid kits should be well-stocked and reviewed often to ensure their contents are current.  

Training and Education 

Each business must appoint an employee who is first aid trained, to ensure they are compliant with the Fire Safety Order 2005. It is this person’s responsibility to comply with the Fire Safety Order, and failure to do so can result in fines and imprisonment. Many businesses will send people for necessary first aid training which is a qualification needed for many roles in sectors such as food service and hospitality. Additionally, if your workforce is given dedicated training in first aid and fire safety, it helps to ensure that accidents, fire hazards and other medical emergencies can be dealt with in the right manner.  

Other fire safety equipment for the workplace 

These are just some of the essential fire safety equipment that needs to be installed in the workplace. Here at FPC, we stock a wide selection of other fire safety measures and equipment that can be utilised in numerous settings, including offices, hospitals, schools, warehouses and other sectors to ensure better safety measures against fire.  

Get in touch with one of the expert team members here at FPC for more information on how to protect your workplace against the dangers of fire and smoke.  

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