Post-COVID Fire Protection Tips
Open for business again? Many facility managers and property owners are partially or fully reopening their buildings to employees, customers, and other visitors for the first time in over a year as COVID-19 restrictions relax across the country. As guests return to your building in these early days of a post-COVID-shutdown world, there’s something those with a say in the process should have in mind, even if it’s not immediately obvious: fire protection.
Today, we’ll discuss why you should put fire protection at the forefront of your return strategy, what changes employees, managers, and property owners should be implementing, and other steps to take to keep buildings safe as they return to capacity.
The Importance of Fire Protection Post-COVID
You may be wondering why fire protection deserves special attention in this time period; it doesn’t seem immediately obvious that people returning to your building would put it at a higher-than-usual risk of fire. But that’s not necessarily the case.
People are “out of practice” being in shared spaces, which creates more room for the common, small human errors that result in fires and other dangerous incidents in a workplace or public space. Lax habits that have developed during lockdown can carry over into shared spaces where inattentiveness or casual disregard for rules that used to be held sacrosanct can lead to fires quite easily.
But it’s not just the slight uptick in the potential for fires that should have you concerned. Many businesses simply cannot afford to absorb further losses in the form of a fire right now, or even a “small” fire, which would be too costly.
Consider Changes Due to COVID-19
COVID isn’t gone just yet, which means that even in buildings reopening to the public, there are certain changes that will likely remain in place due to lingering regulations, risk-averse management, or employee preferences.
It’s important to make sure you’ve accounted for these changes in how people move through your building in your fire protection and fire emergency response plans, especially if your building closed early in the pandemic and hasn’t spent much, or any, time implementing strategies to bring safety measures for COVID in line with your safety measures for fires and other emergencies.
Tips for Employers, Management & Property Managers
The decision-makers in a building should be taking care of what they can from their positions of power over the building and how its occupants use it. Depending on how your building functions, these responsibilities might be spread across different people — of course, a little overlap and double-checking won’t hurt anyone.
- Make sure all fire alarms, smoke alarms, and sprinklers are in good working order.
- Make sure fire escape plans are up to date and posted in obvious places on every level.
- Make sure employees know exits, escape routes, and emergency equipment they might need.
- Make sure fire escapes, fire ladders, and other emergency routing are in good condition.
- Make sure emergency drills are being performed with some degree of regularity.
Tips for Employees & Other Occupants
Not everyone can control the condition of the building or make changes, but everyone can be alert and knowledgeable about fire protection. Employees and other occupants of a building opening post-COVID should:
- Make sure there aren’t obvious fire hazards, such as damaged electrical equipment/outlets/switches.
- Make sure heating and cooking devices are always monitored when turned on.
- Make sure flammable materials are kept well away from any potential source of ignition.
- Make sure workspaces and equipment are clean and dry and uncluttered.
- Make sure they and their coworkers understand emergency routes.
- Make sure they understand how to operate emergency equipment or exits.
More Fire Protection Tips From Unifour Fire & Safety
A fire in your building during the early steps of reopening could be an irrecoverable event for businesses and properties that have struggled through lockdowns, restrictions, and the concerns of employees and customers. Make sure everyone is taking the necessary steps to stay safe in the months to come so you can appreciate reopening.
If you’d like to learn more about the steps you can take to secure a building against fires, reach out to the fire protection experts at Unifour Fire & Safety. Dial 866-511-5540 or contact us online to get started!