It’s common knowledge that fires are dangerous and costly, possibly leading to serious losses, including closing your doors permanently. As business owners, it’s important to plan ahead and actively work to
prevent fires. But there’s more to it than that. Truly understanding what’s at stake if a fire were to spark at your workplace can lead to better habits, more involved employee training, and an active approach to preventing fire risks each day.
What is at stake?
Your dealership is home to high-value heavy machinery and equipment. It cannot be overstated how dangerous fires can be, how fast they can spread, and how the damage can have long-term effects — you could lose your inventory, or even your whole building, potentially keeping you from working for months or shutting your business down entirely. In addition, you and your employees could be in serious danger if a fire starts during working hours.
What can business owners do to help prevent fires?
Train your employees to keep an eye out for any potential fire hazards and act to remedy or report them immediately while working. Conducting ongoing frequent training and encouraging preventative actions now could have a positive chain reaction in helping to reduce the risk of devastating losses.
In addition, create and review a fire prevention plan that is unique to your workplace. Part of this plan involves taking the time to complete a fire hazard assessment, reviewing your findings, and implementing fire protection practices and procedures. This includes a checklist to help keep property, assets, and people safe.
Communicate this program and company expectations to each employee so that they learn what behaviors or performance changes are necessary to help prevent fires and what to do if one occurs. Give employees a copy of your fire protection program and your emergency action plan, and make reference copies accessible at work.
How do you keep employees safe and alert?
Train your employees on the causes of fire, what can they do to reduce fire risks, and their roles and responsibilities in the event a fire occurs.
Document and record employee training, monitor results and update your training program annually or as needed. Continually verify employees’ understanding of proper policies and procedures. Evaluate your program to make sure the controls implemented are effective, workplace hazards are controlled, and additional hazards are not created. Steps to consider may include:
- Ensure that employees are aware of their responsibilities in the event of a fire.
- Regularly reinforce safe work habits.
- Conduct routine inspections of your workplace.
- Hold regular fire drills.
What can leadership do to help mitigate fire risks?
In the end, your employees look to their leaders for guidance. When it comes to fire safety, there is no room for error — training your workforce how to watch out for fire hazards and react in the event of a fire could be the difference between a safer work environment and severe losses. Safety starts at the top and is led by example. Train your employees thoroughly, prepare in advance, and ensure everyone understands the importance of fire prevention and what to do in an emergency.
Remember, fires are preventable, and you have the knowledge and responsibility to take action now before one starts. Federated Insurance® offers a variety of fire prevention plan samples, checklists, and resources. Speak to your local Federated® marketing representative today to learn more.
By: Equipment Dealer Specialist Jerry Leemkuil, Federated Mutual Insurance Company