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Shopping centers show an elevated risk of smoke and fire incidents, mainly attributable to the frequent turnover of visitors.
Apart from that, the transient population, which includes short-term employees, presents a range of other concerns. These include indoor smoking and improper storage of combustible and flammable materials.
Electrical issues, open flames, sparks, and hot surfaces in restaurants heighten the fire risk.
Given the substantial foot traffic, valuable assets, and extensive inventory within these establishments, comprehensive fire protection measures are essential to ensure safety.
Also, the number of retail businesses and clientele emphasizes the need for a consistently high level of fire protection in these establishments.
Safety Tips for Shopping Center Management
Regardless of the kind of retail store you oversee or the products you offer, it’s crucial to understand that fire and smoke hazards can exist in various areas.
It’s essential not only to recognize potential fire risks but also to know how to guard against them to ensure the safety of your customers in your establishment.
That’s why training your employees in proper fire prevention techniques and the correct use of fire protection equipment is just as vital as having suitable fire safety systems in position.
Kickstart your fire safety protection with these proven and tested tips.
1. Set Up Fire Alarms
Smoke alarms provide crucial early warnings for fires. Place smoke and fire alarms on every level of your home or business.
Don’t forget to test them every month to ensure they are functional. If the system is turned off or has low battery power, it won’t be able to protect you.
Additionally, consider replacing alarms that have been used for over ten years. Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system for comprehensive fire safety.
2. Make Fire Prevention Part of Your Routine
Integrating fire prevention into everyday practices is the most effective way to ensure fire safety in retail stores.
Create a retail store safety checklist that employees responsible for daily cleaning must sign off on, verifying that everything is turned off and unplugged at closing time.
This business fire and smoke protection checklist is the initial component of your comprehensive fire prevention and protection strategy.
Besides a general retail checklist, you may also want to establish a store inspection checklist to prepare for surprise and routine inspections.
Essential items to include in your business’s daily fire safety checklist:
- Regularly inspect, repair, and maintain electrical wiring, gas lines, plumbing, utility connections, and all fire-protection equipment to prevent potential fire hazards and ensure they function correctly.
- Keep flammable materials like paper, clothing, and chemicals away from electrical outlets, open flames, and sources of static electricity.
- Prevent trash from overflowing and ensure it is placed in the dumpster as necessary rather than leaving it near the entrance.
3. Map Out a Smoke and Fire Escape Route
It’s essential to have a fire escape plan ready in case of a fire. Ensure your employees and clients know at least two unobstructed exits in every room, such as windows and doors.
Additionally, it’s a good practice for your entire workforce to go over and practice the escape plan at least once a year to ensure everybody knows what to expect and do in an emergency.
4. Inspect Your Fire Extinguishers
Regular inspection and awareness of fire extinguishers are vital for maintaining fire safety in retail stores and businesses. The inability to locate a functional fire extinguisher in a time of need can be catastrophic for your business.
Here are some fundamental rules and recommendations regarding fire and smoke extinguishers:
Ensure that the nearest fire extinguisher is within a travel distance of no more than 75 feet in any direction.
Make sure you have the correct type of fire extinguisher for your area. ABC-class extinguishers are suitable for fires caused by flammable liquids, electronic equipment, and burning paper or plastic.
K-class extinguishers are intended for kitchens and should be within 30 feet of cooking equipment.
Fire extinguishers should be easily accessible, and everyone in the establishment should be trained on their location and how to use them.
Fire and Smoke Monitoring
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), conducts monthly inspections.
During these inspections, ensure that the pressure gauge indicates a full charge (the needle is in the green zone), the hose is intact, and the safety pin is securely in place.
These monthly inspections can be carried out by trained employees who should initial and date the backside of the tag.
A certified professional should conduct the annual inspection and report the results to the relevant organizations.
By earnestly following these fire and smoke damage guidelines, you can help ensure that your fire extinguishers are in working order and readily available when needed, reducing the risk of a small fire becoming a significant catastrophe.
5. Train Your Employees on Fire Safety
Providing your employees with proper fire safety training is essential to ensure they can effectively follow your business’s fire safety checklist.
It’s crucial to comply with NFPA and OSHA standards and prioritize regular fire and smoke monitoring and quality training to maintain the highest level of safety in your retail store.
Fire-Proof Your Establishments With United Restoration
Retail store owners and managers must focus on fire safety. Sometimes, they might underestimate the risk of fires.
It’s best to use practical and affordable fire prevention methods to keep your business safe. Following these five fire safety tips, you can reduce fire dangers, protect your customers and staff, and ensure your business’s long-term success.
Workplaces have common smoke and fire hazards, so being ready is vital. Work with United Restoration to keep your establishment free from these dangers.