There are a number of different things that you can do to help reduce the fire risk for your business in hot weather.
1. Unplug your air conditioning when not in use
Air conditioning is an absolute must when the mercury rises. But the very thing you use to protect your teams against heat exposure can themselves overheat. And when that happens, they can quickly become a fire hazard. So, when your air conditioning is not in use, it’s a really good idea to not only turn it off, but to unplug it (where possible). The same applies to other cooling mechanisms, such as fans.
It’s also wise to be aware of the risk of overloading sockets. Any overloaded sockets can be a fire risk. This isn’t just a problem in the summer months. But when the ambient temperature is already high, electrical hazards become greater.
2. Regularly test your fire alarm system
If you operate a business in the UK, you are legally obliged to test your fire alarm on a weekly basis. This allows you to pick up any obvious faults with the system. However, you also need to get your alarms professionally serviced at least every six months. And late May/early June is the perfect time to do this. Helping you to ensure that your business has maximum fire protection as we move into the hottest months of the year.
3. Make sure you have the right equipment
Fire extinguishers are your first line of defence against fire. Their role is to stop small flames from becoming dangerous infernos. So, having the right fire extinguishers for the different parts of your business is of paramount importance. You need to understand how many fire extinguishers your business needs. Where to put them. When to maintain them. And when to replace them. Many people are unaware that fire extinguishers don’t last forever, and do need to be maintained. But staying on top of fire extinguisher maintenance is the first step towards protecting your business and your people.
4. Ensure your business has protection when staff are away
Whether your business completely shuts down for summer or you have the difficult task of balancing employee holiday requests, your fire protection can be influenced by your manpower. Or lack thereof. So, it pays to take precautions.
Organisations, such as schools, that are empty throughout the summer holidays can be particularly vulnerable to fire. So, it always makes sense to conduct a thorough fire risk assessment before you shut everything up for summer. Make sure that all waste is cleared. Lock away or remove any hazardous materials – including any cooking fats and art equipment. And test your alarm system.
If your business remains operational, holiday periods can present other challenges. One of the most important pieces of fire safety advice for the summer is to ensure that you have enough fire marshals to cover holidays and other absences.