Fires don't commonly break out in retail shops, but they do happen periodically. Protecting customers, workers, products and yourself is paramount during any fire outbreak. However, you might admit you haven't been thinking much about the possibility. What fire-prevention and safety measures should you take?
Test Suppression Systems
Fire suppression systems are likely required in your retail store. However, without any fires, your existing system is easy to ignore. You might have no idea how well the smoke dampers are functioning or whether the vents are blocked. You may not know if some of the sprinkler heads are non-functional. Should fires occur, your system could actually be not as helpful as if you'd had it checked. Don't set off an alarm by yourself; contact professionals to test different components and to assess the system.
If your suppression system was put in by previous owners and is therefore rather old, now is a good time to begin exploring opportunities. Simple sprinkler systems may be perfect, but you may want something that is more likely to protect your products. You'll also want to look at fire suppression systems which do a good job of eliminating smoke from the area so that products won't retain a smoke smell.
Even small fires will need prompt attention to stop them from wreaking havoc. Your responsibility is to check extinguishers for expiration dates and to ensure the proper ones are in your store. You may have an old Class K extinguisher sitting on the main shopping, for instance; this class is for grease or oil and would be better suited for the break room. Ensure you use the appropriate extinguishers for every space.
Plan for Emergencies
Perhaps your store already has posted signs about how to leave the retail shop when there's an emergency. However, how many of your employees automatically understand what to do? Should they rescue shoppers or themselves first? Should they cover merchandise before heading out? Where should they meet when they are out in the open air? All these questions should be answered in a comprehensive safety plan. Ensure it's part of the employee manual, and ensure you regularly use drills to encourage memory retention.
Remembering safety amid all the other things you do in your business should help everyone feel better while they are in your retail store. Communicate frequently with suppression system technicians, like those at Echo Fire Protection, to ensure fire risk and damage remains low.
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