Fire Prevention and Preparedness

October is Fire Prevention Month and October 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week. Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the notorious blaze that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres on October 8th and 9th, 1871. It has since been expanded to Fire Prevention Month. This is the time of year when we need to ensure that we are prepared for the potential of fires and the dangers they present. The articles below can help you with your preparations and planning.

Do you know what to do to lessen the likelihood of an office fire breaking out -- and how to react if one does? (Item #1)     The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City became the benchmark for what employers should NOT do in their facilities if they want to protect their employees and property. (Item #2)     While many people look at the fire- and life-safety inspection process negatively, these inspections benefit the building/business owners, as well as those who use the building. (Item #3)    

Small business fire and safety training is necessary for companies of every size. (Item #4)     Fire drills should take place at least once a year. (Item #5)     Regardless of the location of a fire, once people are aware of it, they should be able to proceed safely along a recognizable escape route, to a place of safety. (Item #6)    

As always, I look forward to hearing about your concerns with regard to business continuity. If there are any topics that you'd like to see covered, email me at

Bob Mellinger, President
Attainium Corp

1. Tips for Fire Prevention and Preparedness at the Office

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), there were more than 98,000 non-residential building fires in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. Many of them were in small offices and buildings. Estimated property loss from these blazes was $2.6 billion.

2. Legal Aspects of Fire Safety

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is now a classic case study for Fire Service Administrators. It led to the first legally mandated fire protection protocols for American business owners. The protocols required all interior doors to open out, no exterior doors being locked during working hours, sprinkler systems installed where more than 25 employees worked, and regular fire drills so that employees were trained in how to successfully leave the building in case of emergency.

3. How to Comply with Your Annual Fire Inspection

Annual inspections by the fire department are performed to assess and mitigate potential fire- and life-safety hazards in buildings. Most fire departments provide you with a written report of any corrections that are necessary. These inspections vary in type and frequency, depending on the jurisdiction, city, and state. How the fire inspectors perform these inspections also varies dramatically from area to area.

4. Small Business Fire & Safety Training

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration requires all businesses to provide a safe and healthy workplace, and recommends training for all employees. Training not only imparts knowledge and awareness of hazards; it also empowers workers to participate in creating and maintaining a safer work environment.

5. The Importance of Carrying Out Fire Drills in Your Business

Fire drills should be carried out to check that staff understand the emergency fire action plan, are familiar with operation of the emergency fire action plan, and to evaluate effectiveness of the plan and to identify any weakness in the evacuation strategy. The frequency of fire drills for each building will be different and should reflect the level of risk.

6. Emergency Escape and Fire Fighting

Under Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) every employer shall identify hazards, assess risks and have a written risk assessment, including any unusual or other risks. To comply with Section 19, employers are required to carry out risk assessments and to record these in the Safety Statement. A fire safety risk assessment should be conducted.

Quote of the Week:

"In case of fire, exit building BEFORE tweeting about it."

-- author unknown

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Attainium Corp