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Know your company's fire evacuation process by heart! It will save lives and your business!

by , 03 March 2015
Yesterday's news headlines were filled with the fire that started in the early hours of Sunday morning on the Muizenberg Mountains in the Cape.

On Monday morning, two bungalows were destroyed in an explosion caused by the fire that broke out in Muizenberg. And today, the fire still rages on - heading towards the Fish Hoek area.

Take a look at what's happening and how to prevent serious burns and injuries if a fire breaks out in your company

According to Cape Town Disaster Risk Management the fire destroyed two bungalows at Tintswalo lodge at the foot of Chapman's Peak yesterday.

Spokesperson Charlotte Powell said that there was an explosion at the lodge caused by the fire and that a firefighting official sustained burn wounds and was treated on the scene before he was transported to hospital.

To date, several fires are still burning in  Cape Town's south peninsula areas, fuelled by strong winds. As such, the NSRI is appealing to the public not to come to watch the fire as access roads for emergency vehicles are getting blocked.

As official sources state, the area under threat stretches from Hout Bay to Muizenberg and at least 3 000 hectares of vegetation are at risk of being completely destroyed but actual damage and the cost of the fire will only be known once the fire is extinguished.

Keeping this in mind, you should remember how important it is to prevent a fire rather than to intervene once it breaks out.

You should also keep in mind that, in your company, most fire incidents are due to electricity.This can results from electrical switchgear, an electrical fire or explosion initiated by electrical energy, overhead electric lines and so forth..

Are you prepared for such an event? Do you have a well-made fire evacuation plan?

Can you say that you are 100% sure your employees know what to do in case of a fire alarm?
You have to know how you will respond to an emergency in the workplace. You need an emergency plan for you and your employees. When it comes to fire safety, the best way to prevent an incident or a tragedy is to hire a government accredited service provider to assess your fire risk and put steps in place to reduce the risk as much as possible.

What does this imply?
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If there was a fire, violent strike or explosion in your company, would your first aider know what to do?


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Your company's fire safety rules need to change drastically!

For example,
- You must not allow smoking in enclosed spaces or near potentially flammable materials

- You must test all equipment periodically and electric cables shouldn't be on the floor

- You must train your employees to understand the gravity of every action in this area and to make sure that each electrical device is switched off when they leave

- You must train every  member of your staff so they know precisely what to do in case of a hazard and what emergency procedure to apply.

But how do you implement a fire evacuation plan?

Don't forget to install a fire detection system! It is mandatory and will detect any early fire and also offer you time to evacuate the people in the building.

You must also place  SABS-approved fire extinguishers at various points, especially in high risk areas. And train your employees so they know how to use them properly!

In addition, depending on the fire risk your business involves, a sprinkler is a good safety measure!

Don't forget to check all the above equipment on a regular basis!

Bottom line: Your employees have to know your evacuation plan. Train them so they will know what to do in case of a fire, what number to call, that they should evacuate first and then call the emergency number, know the emergency exits, all available alternatives (fire escapes, for instance) and to know that they should gather in a single place for a roll-call (in this way, you will see very quickly if everyone is there or if someone is missing).

Don't forget that all this fire safety rules save lives and make a big difference. Whatever you do, don't think these are some safety measures you can bypass!

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