Fire Safety in the Workplace

We all know that due to the ongoing drought and hotter temperatures, California is experiencing longer and more intense fire seasons. Annual forecast models for 2022 indicate an above-normal wildfire season, especially over the Northwest and West. Even if your business is not directly impacted by a fire, you may experience indirect consequences such as increased air pollution due to smoke, potentially threatening the health of your employees and customers.

Now is the time to prepare and make sure your business is ready for all possible scenarios during this year’s fire season, ensuring everyone stays safe and healthy.

  • Have an emergency action plan. Update your evacuation plan periodically, make education part of the onboarding process for staff,  and ensure all staff gets periodic refresher training.
  • Train your employees and practice fire drills. Run through your evacuation plan with your employees and schedule fire drills periodically throughout the year. That way if an emergency does occur, your team can feel more comfortable with the evacuation process while under pressure.
  • Maintain your equipment for fire safety. Check your equipment regularly, such as fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems. Make this more streamlined by having a checklist you go through each quarter.
  • Practice electrical safety. Electrical fires can be devastating. If relevant for your business type, review OSHA’s tips for Preventing Electrical Hazards in the workplace.
  • Keep your employees and patrons healthy. Fire season’s air pollution can find its way indoors, compromising the health of your employees and patrons. While we recommend servicing your HVAC system and replacing filters at least twice per year, consider doing this more frequently if there has been a lot of smoke pollution in your area.
  • Landscape with fire safety in mind. If your business has landscaping on site, select native plants that are drought and more fire-resistant. This will also save you money on water! Check out the California Native Plant Society’s piece on Fire-Resistant Landscaping for more ideas! If your business is located in a rural area, be sure to have a defensible space around your building just as you would around your home.
  • Stay informed. Sign up to receive public safety alerts and access emergency checklists and other resources from your local utility. If you are curious about California’s ongoing situation, click here to read about past incidents and other information provided by The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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