Safety and fire prevention – Fire safety in the workplace
Make it your business to know Fire can break out anywhere, including where you work. Each year numerous fires in the workplace cause injury and property loss.
If a fire started in your office or in the building where you work, would you know what to do? Do you know your workplace evacuation procedures in the event of an alarm? What can you do to prevent fires in your workplace?
Knowing the answers to these questions and following a few simple fire safety procedures can prevent tragic and wasteful fire loss in your workplace.
Be prepared! These procedures are based on your workplace having a fire alarm system and an approved fire safety plan. Your building may not have an alarm system or a detailed fire safety plan. Your workplace fire evacuation procedures may differ. Make it your business to know the fire safety plan and evacuation procedures in your workplace.
Employees should know:
- the location of two exits closest to their work area;
- the location of the nearest fire alarm pull station and how to use it;
- the phone number for the Fire Department (Toronto – 9-1-1);
- your responsibilities in a fire, which are in the fire safety plan; the fire emergency procedures posted on your floor.
- If you work in a high building, visit the Fire in the Sky – Fire safety in high buildings page for more information.
Employers are responsible for:
- preparing and implementing the Fire Safety Plan;
- informing employees of the Fire Safety Plan;
- posting fire emergency procedures on each floor;
- conducting regular fire drills with all employees.
If you discover a fire
- Activate the nearest fire alarm pull station on the fire floor.
- Leave the area immediately, closing all doors behind you.
- Take keys with you.
- Go to the nearest exit and leave the building. Close all doors behind you.
- If you encounter smoke, consider taking an alternate stairwell/exit. Heat and smoke rise leaving cleaner air near the floor. Crawl low under smoke.
- Call the Toronto Fire Services at 9-1-1 regardless of the size of the fire. Never assume this has been done. Give correct address, location of fire and your name.
The use of extinguishers Most workplaces contain portable fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers can only put out small, contained fires, such as a fire in a wastebasket. The extinguisher in your workplace may or may not be suitable for dealing with grease or electrical fires.
If you have not been trained in the proper use of portable extinguishers, do not attempt to fight a fire.
- Never fight a fire:
- if the fire is large or spreading;
- if your escape route may be blocked by the spread of fire;
- if you are not trained in the correct use of the extinguisher or are unsure of the type of fire.
- If you do fight a fire:
- call the Toronto Fire Services first at 9-1-1;
- ensure everyone has evacuated or is leaving the area/building;
- only fight a small fire.
For more information on portable fire extinguishers and their use, visit our fire extinguishers page.
Fire prevention tips for a safer workplace
- Smoke only in areas allowed.
- Use large, non-tip ashtrays. Do not empty contents into wastebaskets.
- Check for smouldering cigarettes on furniture and in wastebaskets.
- Check and replace any electrical cords that have cracked insulation or broken connectors.
- Avoid octopus wiring.
Do not run extension cords across doorways or under rugs.
- Avoid plugging more than one extension cord into an outlet.
- Use only CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved power bars.
- Use only CSA approved appliances.
- Leave enough space for the circulation of air around heaters and other equipment such as computer terminals and copy machines.
- Keep all appliances a safe distance from combustible materials.
- Always turn off or unplug appliances at the end of each day.
Arson Arson is one of the leading causes of fire in the workplace. To prevent or minimize the risk of fire due to arson, remember:
- to be aware of your building security procedures;
- report any type of vandalism and notify security and/or police of suspicious behaviour and visitors;
- lock doors after working hours;
- ensure areas around your building are free of combustibles and are well lit;
- keep all halls, lobbies and areas used by the public clear of obstructions.
In case of fire or an emergency, call 9-1-1.