If you're a new small business owner, you may be getting ready to open your doors for the first time and are feeling excited, tinged with a small degree of trepidation. You may be ready to offer your services or products to a waiting public but want to make sure that you cover all your risks in order to safeguard your operation. One of the biggest and most challenging risks of all, of course, is associated with fire, and this is where you need to be particularly careful. How can you be best prepared?
To begin with, you should initiate a fire risk assessment in accordance with the requirements of your jurisdiction. This will involve an analysis of your general and specific risks in relation to the size of your operation.
Starting with a Plan
To begin with, consider getting a water-based extinguisher system based on your maximum floor area and place each product in close proximity to any potential hazard. These protection devices can be filled with suppressant-based foam, water or a solution that has been created for a set risk. In the case of electricity, water is out of the question and you will need to install a CO2 unit instead. If you have large items of equipment, then you should make sure that you have the right number and capacity to deal with any type of conflagration.
You may also need specialist extinguishers if you have risks associated with stored fuel, a large amount of paper or wood, paint products and other specialties. For example, you may stock or sell car parts and your risk may require you to develop a more complex extinguisher plan. Just be careful to ensure that you pick the right extinguishers for your application and always educate your staff so that they know what to do in any situation.
Likewise, a restaurant business may face an even more complicated challenge. They may require a chemical extinguisher to put out a deep fat fryer, a number of blankets to douse a breakout around their grill or stove, water-based units for "general" use and CO2 items for electrical issues. As you can see, the need for proper training increases exponentially, the more involved you become.
What Should You Do?
If you're not sure what type of fire extinguisher you should introduce for your specific risks, ask your equipment supplier to help spell it out for you clearly.