This has been a strange year for weather, with some catastrophic losses occurring in the most unlikely of places. From earthquakes in Virginia to massive flooding in Pennsylvania, one has to wonder if we are truly safe from Mother Nature sometimes!
I can’t help but think of the brush fires in Texas. Most of this area had not been exposed to this type of catastrophic loss before, and it made me wonder how many people are truly prepared for a fire situation. Having begun my career in claims, I have always believed that a fire loss was one of the most horrifying events one could encounter, as a fire can rage out of control in an instant and the end result can be tragic.
You have heard how important it is to protect your property and premises from further loss when an accident happens, but what about your employees and visitors? Consider the following questions about your fire evacuation plan. Your answers could save the lives of your employees and others on your premises in the event of a fire.
- Do your employees know where the closest exit is located? Can visitors easily locate an exit from posted placards and lighted signs?
- Do you have a roster of all employees and know who is inside your premises at any given moment?
- Do you know how to activate the fire alarm system? If the fire is small, do your employees know where the fire extinguishers are located and how to use them?
- Do you have a designated meeting place so that all may be accounted for if a loss occurs? Do you have a certain employee that acts as a fire marshal to coordinate this effort?
- Can you quickly direct the fire department to the closest fire hydrant? Do you know where it is located?
It is important that your employees are educated on how to properly escape from a fire and activate the fire alarm system. Fires can spread fast, but without a good plan in place, panic can spread much more quickly. Remember to evacuate safely and quickly, meet at the designated meeting place, and do not re-enter the structure until instructed by proper authorities (you can be overcome by smoke and toxic fumes). Also, just because a fire has been extinguished does not mean that it is safe to enter, as the structure could be weak and could collapse or hotspots may exist where burns can result if touched. Check out resources such as OSHA, the National Fire Protection Association, or your local fire department for more information.
Do you have a fire evacuation plan? Have you ever had to use it? Let me know how your plan helped save lives!