There have been some recent, terrible examples where people have unfortunately lost their lives due to the failure of a fire control system. If you are the owner or operator of a building that allows access to the public, or provides shelter to multiple families, then you have a duty of responsibility to make sure that you look out for them. Do you have the most up-to-date systems and procedures in place in your building?
It's a legal requirement that buildings such as this have up-to-date and fully functional fire alarms, together with a system for dealing with any such events. These alarms must be activated automatically due to the presence of smoke or heat and must give those inside time to react, even if they cannot physically see evidence of flames.
It goes without saying that injury or loss of life to an employee, visitor or tenant is a catastrophic situation and government health and safety watchdogs insist that you take precautions against this. Fire alarms must be placed strategically and must be serviced regularly, so that the structure is as safe as possible.
Have You Considered Everything?
Fire alarms are only a part of the equation, however. They can certainly warn people, but they cannot prevent the fire itself. Consequently, you have to have a way for people to quickly and effectively evacuate the premises and must indicate where the nearest exit is, at every point of the building.
Never allow rubbish (or anything else for that matter) to obstruct any pathways. Remember, smoke could be present and the area may only be lit by emergency lighting, so it may be difficult to see. You must also have a way of accounting for everybody that was in the building through a rollcall method and have signified an area for everyone to evacuate to.
Is Your Plan Comprehensive?
It's a good idea to design a fire safety plan with experts, who can tailor make it according to your building's specifications. You may need to install CCTV monitors and cameras, special emergency lighting and other elements as well as the core fire alarm system. Remember also that you may be responsible for materials that make up the building's structure and should always ensure that they are regulated and approved by the fire authorities.
Working with the Right People
It's always best if you work with building service suppliers, who are fully aware of the latest fire safety regulations and can ensure that you are as compliant as possible.