Protecting your business, your staff and your customers is our priority at Acumen Insurance. Operating a business location comes with risks. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re prepared in case you ever have to face an emergency situation – such as a fire. All businesses should have a fire safety plan in place, to protect your premises, staff and customers.
Your Fire Safety Plan
The fire safety plan for your business should be an easy to follow document, written clearly and concisely. Use the following checklist to determine what it should include and be sure to outline specific considerations related to your business needs.
1. Analysis: inspect your premises and identify potential risks and fire hazards
2. Solution design: create a plan to help reduce or eliminate the risk of fire
3. Implementation: develop a plan describing what to do if a fire occurs
4. Testing and assessment: be ready for an emergency by testing your fire safety plan
5. Maintenance: keep your plan up-to-date by scheduling regular reviews
Developing your Fire Safety Plan
Your first step is to assess your fire risk exposures and analyze the effects on your business.
- Review layout drawings of your property to understand the types of activities happening in different areas.
- Learn the specifics of your building’s construction and its fire protection systems (alarms, sprinklers, heat and
- Identify all emergency exits, emergency lighting, fire extinguisher locations, hallways and stairways to
establish your evacuation routes.
Your next step is to develop strategies to mitigate your risks of a fire.
- Update your plan at least semi-annually or more often if your business operations or tenants change.
- Review the fire protection design and maintenance of your system to ensure it’s designed to protect your premises and that you have it serviced at least once annually by a licensed and qualified contractor.
- Note any manufacturing processes that use heat or an open flame, (including hot work done during renovations or routine maintenance) and ensure the proper procedures are in place to minimize the risk of explosion and shut down operations.
- Identify any storage areas for oxidizers or flammable liquids; note their quantities, whether they’re stored in approved containers, and get copies of the MSDS data sheets.
- If you lease space to tenants, ensure they participate in the plan preparation and that they understand their responsibilities (especially if they store hazardous
materials or there are hazards associated with their operations).
- You may also consider hiring a qualified consultant to assist with this process, if you lack the in-house expertise to manage the handling of hazardous or
flammable materials on your premises.
Develop an evacuation plan that can be initiated in the event of a fire, as well as a recovery plan to get things back to normal afterward.
- Ensure that you have staff appointed as “Fire Wardens” on all shifts, to assist in evacuating and securing the premises and accounting for all staff/occupants.
- Store a copy of your plan in a safe place on site (e.g. a lock box) at the front entrance of your building and ensure emergency responders can access it.
In addition, copies should be kept off-site, with selected staff, and on a company internet site that can be accessed externally.
- Provide a copy of your plan to your:
• local fire department,
• municipal emergency department, and
• your insurance broker.
Testing and assessment
Your plan is a living document that requires periodic review and adjustment. Test it on a regular basis (e.g. semi-annually) to identify any weaknesses before an actual event happens.
- Test and practice your plan – including running regular fire drills – at least twice per year, to identify any weaknesses.
- Have your local fire and emergency officials attend on site so they can understand the exposures.
Review your plan regularly and adjust it to meet any changes in your operation, tenant mix or the environment.
As a best practice, every business or organization should have an emergency plan at the ready in case the unexpected happens. A well developed, well tested plan will help your organization respond effectively, with minimal disruption, and help reduce uncertainty for your staff and customers, so your business can recover faster.
How Can I Find the Right Coverage?
Acumen Insurance will help you pick the appropriate coverage for your business. As an independent broker, we have access to a variety of insurance plans. With our selection, so you can find the insurance that is right for you.
Protect your business with professional business property insurance made for Hamilton. We know how to find the coverage that meets the varied requirements of different professionals. Let us help you design the insurance plan that is right for you. Call (905) 574-7000 to find out more information today.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – Emergency Planning,
Natural Resources Canada Fire Safety Plan Guideline,
Office of the Fire Marshal,