Offices, schools, hotels, and college dorms all have protocols for fire safety. At Colliers Engineering & Design, we practice fire drills and have office safety coordinators with plans in place to ensure that everyone is safe and accounted for.
Since the pandemic, many of our employees have been working at home regularly, or semi-regularly. Many are therefore using new technologies in their homes. Some of these new technologies are potential fire hazards if handled improperly. For example, many employees used to work exclusively on their desktops in the office but now may use laptops at home. Laptops produce heat, so you should not leave them unattended on a bed or on top of papers. Increased use of laptops, phones, and iPads may mean increased use of chargers. Often, people move the same charger from room to room in their house. Remember to handle cords with care when plugging them in and out. Do you cook a hot lunch in your home’s kitchen while working? Don’t forget about the oven or stove and accidentally leave it on. Instead, always check that you’ve shut everything down in the kitchen before returning to work. This is especially important if you’re home alone.
You should also have a plan in place for if a fire does break out in your home.
According to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) survey, only one third of American households have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. NFPA Public Education Division recommends practicing your plan with your family when everyone is at home, both during the day and at night, at least twice a year. Have an outside meeting place determined, make sure everyone knows not to delay exiting in order to grab any household items and to get low to the ground to avoid inhaling as much smoke. Make sure everyone is aware of at least two ways to exit every room in the house.
At work, be sure to follow all of your office’s procedures. On a normal day, let your coworkers know when you are stepping out of the building for lunch or leaving early so you are accounted for if there is a fire. If you hear the fire alarm go off, walk, don’t run, to your office’s predetermined meeting location outside and make sure you are accounted for by the appropriate office safety coordinators.
We want our employees to be safe, whether they are in the office or at home. This month, National Fire Safety month, take a moment to have a conversation with your loved ones. Make sure you are all prepared if a fire breaks out in your home.