Fire safety matters no matter what your occupation is. It could literally be the difference between life and death.
The first week of October is Fire Prevention Week in the U.S. and Canada. Each year, nearly 4,000 people die in fires in the U.S. That’s eleven deaths per day. In the workplace, fire safety matters no matter what your occupation is. It could literally be the difference between life and death. Here’s your guide to workplace fire safety training.
Do employers have to provide fire safety training?
Fire safety training is required in most U.S. workplaces. The minimum standard that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires is that employees are trained on keeping themselves safe. This means knowing how to recognize signs of a fire and evacuate safely.
But comprehensive workplace fire safety training covers much more than that. A full fire safety training for employees includes:
- Identifying fire hazards
- What to do in the event of a fire
- Fire prevention
It’s a common misconception that certain industries are exempt from fire safety training requirements. Fire can, and does, occur in every industry, including:
- Healthcare facilities
- Restaurants and bars
- Educational institutions
- Office properties
- Retail spaces
- Industrial-use buildings and warehouses
The most common causes of commercial fires are:
- Cooking equipment and kitchens
- Heating, lighting, and electrical equipment
Because most spaces have kitchens and other sources of potential fire, fire safety training is important for every person in every type of business.
Who needs fire safety training?
Fire safety training is one of seven types of safety training that should be provided to all employees, from the CEO to the clerks in receiving. No matter the industry, fire is a possibility, and all employees should know what to do in an emergency.
What fire safety training topics do I need to include?
Fire safety training topics start with a general overview of procedures and drill down into more detail, depending on the industry. These will generally include the following.
1. What to do in case of a fire
All employers should develop a fire safety plan, and all employees should know what to do if a fire breaks out. Employees need to know about the company emergency plan and which employees are responsible for executing the plan. Additionally, this basic fire safety training should include:
- How to exit the building
- How to secure each door as they are leaving
- Where to meet after evacuation
- What to do if they encounter heat or smoke that prevents evacuation
Employees should also know how to activate the fire alarm and any sprinkler systems in their area if they can.
2. How to use a fire extinguisher
Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher should be part of the next level of workplace fire safety training program.
3. Type and cause of fires and how to contain them
Employees working in certain situations should receive more in-depth training. Examples of these situations include:
- Healthcare workers who are responsible for incapacitated patients
- Employees on remote sites with no emergency services (including boats or oil platforms)
- Employees at industrial sites with highly volatile chemicals
In these cases, employees might need more extensive fire safety training that includes identifying the type and cause of the fire and how to contain it. It might also include how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) for fire-related situations.
It’s important to highlight the fact that employees should keep their safety as a priority. Not every employee will receive higher-level training, and even if they do, there are situations when the best plan is to evacuate. Workplace fire safety training helps employees determine when it’s possible to contain or extinguish a fire and when it’s time to leave.
4. Fire prevention
Fire prevention is an important part of a more in-depth fire safety training. This includes training employees on:
- How to recognize fire hazards
- How to minimize the risk of hazardous situations
- Steps to take to remedy fire risk
How to create fire safety training
Every workplace training starts with a training needs analysis. A training needs analysis helps identify:
- The goals of your training
- What employees need to reach those goals
- What resources you already have and what you need to build
One of the main pillars of fire safety training is your fire safety plan. If your business does not have a plan, it’s crucial to develop one. This details how you’ll keep your employees safe in the event of a fire.
Once you’ve developed a plan, it’s time to figure out how you’ll implement your training. The best workplace fire safety training for employees takes place where employees work. It makes no sense to deliver a training that doesn’t apply to where an employee is actually doing their job.
Mobile tools help to integrate fire safety training into the flow of work. This includes location-specific training requirements and checklists to ensure compliance at every step. PinPoint’s performance support tools can help you develop tools for seamless, on-the-job training.
Find free fire safety training courses online
There are free fire safety training courses online to get you started. Many of them just cover the basics, but it’s crucial that all employees at least know what the safety plan is and how to evacuate in case of fire.
Two good places to start include:
At EdgePoint Learning, we also developed a free fire safety training online course. While this web-based course just covers the basics, it’s a great place to start. We welcome you to share it with your employees!
Create your fire safety training program
The free fire safety training courses above will get you started, but they aren’t tailored to your company and employees. When you need more in-depth workplace fire safety training, EdgePoint Learning can help.
Fire safety training can’t wait. We’re here to help you keep employees safe. Get in touch today.