Workplace safety begins at home

It’s difficult to compartmentalize fire safety — and that’s a good thing. In other words, workers who keep fire safety and prevention top of mind at home tend to bring the same attitudes to their workplaces (and vice-versa). Please send a message loud and clear that your staff should prioritize the following in order to keep their families safe.

First and foremost, they should become familiar with common fire risks in the home. For example, the kitchen can be a source of unseen danger lurking. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking equipment is by far the most common cause of house fires, followed by heating and lighting equipment malfunctions. 

Perhaps even more concerning, more than half of injuries related to cooking fires occur because people attempt to extinguish the fire themselves. In order to prevent such an incident, keep flammable materials away from anything that emits heat, including stoves and space heaters.  Never leave an open flame unattended, even if it’s just a candle.

On that note, knowing what to do before, during, and after a fire can greatly affect the outcome. Having a plan in the event of an emergency allows you and your family to act quickly and escape to safety. Preparation is the next step. Below are some considerations to keep in mind so your family and home are ready in case of an emergency: 

  • Install and check smoke detectors on all floors of your home. The devices should be tested at least monthly. Replace batteries annually. 
  • Make sure everyone in your household knows the location of the fire extinguishers and how to use them.
  • Develop an exit drill in the home (E.D.I.T.H.)  that includes a map, with at least two exits from each room, a route to the outside from every room and a meeting place once you get there. It’s prudent to practice your plan, so everyone knows how to respond in the heat of the moment. 
  • Create a communication plan — everyone should know how to reach their loved ones as well as first responders. 
  • Make sure all family members know how to act if they are alone. Teach kids what the fire alarm sounds like and what to do if and when it’s blaring. 
  • All family members should know to close doors as they exit each room on their way out, to prevent the spread of fire. 

When employees (and their families) are familiar with the basics, safety becomes second-nature, not an afterthought. Similarly, in a strong workplace safety culture, everyone feels personally responsible for safety and makes a point to pursue it on a daily basis. 

In short, a culture of safety empowers employees to go beyond the call of duty to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors and take action to correct them. And it all begins at home. Are you giving enough weight to home safety as a workplace safety issue?

I hope this information triggers some concerns that lead to action during these tough times.  Remember, I will always be here for your safety concerns. Feel free to reach out at (260) 241-2256 or send me a message at kkunze@icfireprevention.com to learn more.

In safety, Kenn

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