Business Daily Media
Business Marketing

Don’t let your business go up in flames

  • Written by Jason Lohf

Businesses can suffer greatly from fires, with a total of 5,059 claims for fire damage to commercial properties in Australia in 2019 resulting in $469 million in losses1. However, while fire can inflict considerable losses to infrastructure, income, productivity, and inventory, fire safety isn’t always at the forefront of businesses. Without proper training and procedures in place, there is not only a greater risk to the property but the livelihoods of all staff.

Brooks Australia is urging businesses across the country to be up to date with their fire safety plans and prevention measures including adequate serviced and functional fire alarm systems. Businesses are also recommended to provide staff with adequate training to memorise the emergency evacuation plan and have fire equipment installed for specific fire risks.

The latest data shows that there were over 400 structural fire incidents occurred in offices, with a further 1,029 occurring in retail spaces – such as shops, restaurants, and cafes in 20192. Accommodation and food services (20%), agriculture, forestry, and fishing (16%), and manufacturing (14%) account for the highest incidence rates of fire3, the most common cause for structural fires was electrical failure, which occurred in one in five incidents.

Cathy Brand, CEO of Brooks Australia, says while knowing what to do when a fire occurs is critical, perhaps the most significant element of fire safety training is prevention.

Fire safety training isn’t usually high on the priority list of businesses as they believe that the risk is low or that it won’t happen to them, but nobody is immune from fire. What most businesses don’t recognise is that fire affects every major aspect of their organisation from property and stock damage, the loss of revenue and cost to repair damages to the inability to operate and employees unable to work,” Brand says.

So there is no better time to practice safety in the workplace than now. If employees throughout the building are adequately prepared to prevent fires from the beginning, they are going to be able to reduce the total risk of a fire from ever starting.

It is recommended businesses across the country invest in basic fire safety training and equipment as it can significantly increase the chances surviving a fire emergency unscathed. Employees should be trained to effectively prevent fire risks and hazards from occurring in the workplace.

One way this can be done is by using Brooks Australia’s ‘Fire safety checklist for businesses’ to ensure your workplace is maintaining a clean workplace and wiring, avoiding circuit overloads, keeping machinery clean and dry, and preventing faulty wiring or exposed wires.

Jason Lohf of Brooks Australia, says one of the best investments businesses can make is ensuring there are working smoke detectors.

Smoke detectors are compulsory in all Australian businesses under the Australian Standard and must be installed within 5 metres from the wall and within 10 metres from each other. However, while having a smoke detectors is required by law, business must remember to regularly check them to ensure they’re functioning properly,” Lohf says.

Ensuring that smoke detectors are maintained can save lives with regular testing and cleaning of the devices should be part of any business's safety protocol."

With today’s buildings becoming more complex in both physical layout and functionality, the demands on the fire systems protecting them have never been greater and they must be adaptable to suit a wide range of building applications. Find out more about Brooks Australia’s Commercial Fire Systems: https://www.brooks.com.au/commercial-fire-systems/

About the Citations

  1. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/national-accounts/year-book-australia-2019/13010-business-indicators

  2. https://www.mdpi.com/2571-6255/6/1/35

  3. https://www.afac.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0023/9655/Structure-fires-in-Australia-2019.pdf

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