National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 5-11. The week commemorates The Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 9, 1871, which destroyed 17,400 structures, left more than 100,000 people homeless, and tragically killed more than 250 people.
Since that devastating fire, great advancements in fire prevention have been made in not only preventing fires, but stopping them from spreading. As a result, National Fire Prevention Week was created. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed.
This important week is meant to remind you about the importance of fire prevention. So, here are a few tips to ensure you stay safe on the job.
Know Your Surroundings
It’s vitally important that you always know where emergency exits are in your workplace so you can get to them quickly and safely in the event of a fire. If you don’t know the location of your emergency exits, there should be evacuation route maps located in the office. If not, ask your manager about the exits and find out if they can post evacuation routes. It’s also important to make sure you know the emergency and safety procedures at your workplace.
Check Your Exit Paths
Ensure your exits at work are not locked or blocked by any materials in their path. Sometimes, materials will be stacked outside exits that are seldom used, blocking them in an emergency. If the exit doors are blocked by any out-of-place material, tell someone who has the authority to move the materials to a safer location.
Act on Your Exit Strategy
In the event that a fire does occur, exit the building quickly. Though you may not want to leave your personal belongings behind, it’s not worth taking the risk to gather everything up – just exit the building. And, help those around you do the same.
How You Can Observe National Fire Prevention Week
While you may not have the authority at work to perform some of the following tasks, it doesn’t hurt to ask around to ensure someone is doing them.
The most important factor in saving lives in a fire is early detection and response. It’s recommended that smoke alarms are checked every month. To make sure these tests are being done, you can ask if anyone at your workplace is in charge of testing the alarms. And if your facility hasn’t had a fire drill in a while, it’s a great time to practice. Fire safety is just as important at home as it is in the workplace, so take this Fire Prevention Week as a reminder to test the batteries in your smoke alarms at home, too.
Fire extinguishers should also be checked once a month, and it helps to designate a specific person to perform the check. All fire extinguishers in your workplace should be checked so they stay properly pressurized, easily accessible, unobstructed, and appear to be in good working order.
Whether at work or at home, take time to focus on fire prevention during National Fire Prevention Week this year. Not only will it help keep you and your co-workers safe, but your preparations can help protect your community as well.
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.