You’re handcuffed to your desk, seven pm, typing furiously to finish you financial quarterlies. In the vast sea of cubicles on your floor, yours is the only one lit. The only sound breaking the silence is your tap-tap-tapping of a 100 words a minute.
But then you smell something pungent – it’s the deadly whiff of smoke.
You peer above your desk, like a soldier looking above a parapet, and see black smoke billowing around the vast expanse of your office.
Gingerly, you head for the nearest corridor, only to spot orange flames licking at the walls. You run for the next exit, but the rage of burning blocks your way.
There’s only one thing for it – with a warlike cry, you leap out the office window, two storeys down, and land in a skip below.
You were lucky – according to government statistics, fire departments attended more than 192,600 burning buildings, and not everyone escaped with their lives.
As sirens blare in the distance, you have time to reflect. What should your business do to prevent narrow escapes like yours? How can it ward off the flames?
Have a blast (ceiling)!
It might not look it, but that ceiling above your head is as vulnerable to fire and gas explosions as anywhere else in your office. With the intensity of the heat, those plaster board surfaces will deteriorate like butter in a kiln.
More than this, a ceiling on fire could cause structural damage to your entire building. A wall collapsing is bad enough, but the injuries you’ll suffer when a wall caves in on you could prove catastrophic.
The solution – call in some heavy reinforcements.
Invest in a blast ceiling from a reputable supplier to protect your office from explosions for up to four hours. So if a fire is creeping around your ceiling, you’ll have plenty of time to escape the danger zone and get on the blower to the emergency services.
Get tooled up
The office that’s prepared is the office that can fight flames. But you’d be amazed at the number of bosses settling for a “that’ll do” approach when it comes to fire protection.
You should be kitted to the teeth with fire extinguishers, blankets, alarms, sprinklers and anything else to stop you falling foul of a burnt down office.
While escape should always be your first option, having the tools to hand to combat flames can, at the very least, put your mind at ease – and remind your employees to stay vigilant.
Make everyone know the score
It’s no good acting like a flame-fighting maverick if your employees don’t know the first thing about safety.
Set up seminars from real fire attendants, send out regular emails, detail exit strategies and let your employees know that your door is always open to any questions or queries when it comes to your company’s fire policy.
Knowledge is key to stopping your building burning to cinders – so make sure every employee is on the same page.