The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reported in 2020 that 111,000 non-residential structure fires caused 100 civilian deaths, 1,100 civilian injuries, and $3.4 billion in property damage. No business owner or employee ever wants this to happen to them. With the proper fire protection systems, your commercial building can ensure that your team, clients, and property/assets are safe. Additionally, it’s best to be prepared to know what to do regarding evacuation. Here are steps you should take if you ever experience a business fire.
Never Disregard the Fire Alarm
When you hear a fire alarm sound, your first reaction should be to grab your closest personal items, alert the people around you, and leave the building. It’s also best to:
- Act quickly but try your hardest to stay calm
- Stay low in case of fumes or smoke.
- Do not extinguish a fire unless you have the proper training. The wrong class will only ignite and feed the flames. For example, in the case of a commercial kitchen fire, only a Class B fire extinguisher can douse a grease fire.
Feel the Temperature of the Door
You’ll also want to feel a door knob or higher up on the door to gauge its temperature. If the door feels hot, the fire might be on the other side of the door. In that case, you’ll want to keep it shut. Stuff any objects such as clothing, paper towels, newspapers, or other things by the door sill to keep smoke from entering the room. Also:
- Open the door slowly, even if the door isn’t hot, and stand low to one side of the door in case flames or fumes seep around it.
- If heat and smoke enter the room, slam the door tightly, stuff items by the door sill to keep smoke out, and find an alternate way out of the building.
- If, in the worst-case scenario, you have to use a window for an escape, ensure that other windows and doors are closed to avoid the draft from the open entryways drawing smoke and fire into the room.
Avoid Using Elevators, Stay Low, and Alert Others (if Possible and Necessary)
If the hallway is free from smoke, walk calmly to the nearest fire exit and evacuate the building and:
- Never use the elevators because they are tied to a fire detection system and not available to occupants once the fire alarm sounds.
- Stay low, avoiding smoke, fumes, and gases as you leave the building.
- If the fire alarm isn’t sounding, pull it. If it doesn’t activate, yell “fire” as you exit the building.
- If caught in smoke, drop to your hands and knees or crouch low and avoid crawling on your belly. Hold your breath as much as possible, breathing shallowly through your nose using your shirt or dress as a filter.
- Move fast to an open area not surrounded by buildings, trees, power lines, or roadways.
Move Away from the Door if Trapped in a Room
Dial 911 and retreat, and close as many doors as possible between you and the fire if you find yourself trapped. As mentioned before, it’s best to seal cracks around the door to prevent smoke from entering.
Contact Chesapeake Sprinkler today if you’re unsure if your building is safe and well-equipped for a fire emergency. You’ll be that much closer to saving lives.
Contact Chesapeake Sprinkler Company Today!
Chesapeake Sprinkler Company is a leading fire sprinkler contractor in the region, which is now a member of the Century Fire Protection family. As a full-service fire protection company, we offer design, fabrication, installation, testing, maintenance, and inspection of fire protection systems. Everything you need from your fire suppression specialist.
For more information, please email or call our Odenton location at 410-674-7041, our Ashburn location at 703-729-5150, or for service/maintenance at 410-674-7577. For emergencies, call 800-298-3473 (FIRE). Feel free to keep in touch through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!