Fire can have a devastating financial and emotional toll on small, medium and large businesses, destroying the livelihoods of owners and operators and those employed.
Fire can impact a business in the following ways:
- Major infrastructure and stock loss
- Lost productivity
- Financial losses
- Fatalities and injuries
- Loss of agricultural farming land, livestock, crops, fodder
- Staff unemployment
As a business owner or operator, safeguards need to be introduced to protect your business asset. This can be achieved by installing suitable fire alarm systems and extinguishers and to establish and maintain a fire safety policy.
Site security is one of the most important factors in preventing arson. If your business is not secure, is vacant for extended periods or is easy to access, then it may become a target for the opportunistic arsonist. An arsonist can be motivated by many factors including business rivalry, spite/revenge, vandalism, crime concealment or financial reward.
Fires can also start by accident and neglect, such as poor housekeeping, discarded cigarettes or unsafe work practices involving hot work equipment, chemicals and many other potential ignition sources. Many of these fires can be avoided by simple fire precautions and procedures.
If your business is near bush, you also need to consider and plan for the risk of bushfire. Prepare the property to reduce its bushfire risk, implement a building protection zone and ensure you have a bushfire response plan in place that is appropriate for your business.
Everyone who enters your business premises including employees, customers, contractors or any other visitor has a responsibility to comply with all fire safety policies.
As a business owner or operator you have additional responsibilities including making sure appropriate evacuation plans are in place and practiced, exit paths are clearly marked and clear of obstructions and suitable fire detection or containment equipment is installed and maintained.