When you are opening a store, you need to consider the safety of yourself, your staff, any potential livestock that you have if you are a pet shop, and the safety of your merchandise.
One of the biggest risks that stores will experience is fire, and even if you think you don’t need to have anything in place to prevent a fire in your store, this is an unwise approach that can end in tragedy.
So, with that in mind, what are some of the steps you can take to protect your store from fires?
The first thing to do is to look at the doors that are inside the building and lead in and out of it. Fire rated doors will prevent fires from spreading and will stop smoke from seeping around them as well. Should you or your staff find yourselves in a situation where a fire has broken out in the store you are in, having fire-resistant doors will prevent smoke inhalation, burns, and the spread of the fire, provided that they are closed, of course.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms
Next on the list is a smoke detector. Irrespective of the kind of store you have, this is a must, as it can alert you to the presence of smoke, even if you are in another part of the store. The same applies to a fire alarm, but it is worth noting that in cases of fires, smoke is often the first thing that accumulates. This will allow you to get yourself and your staff out of the store to safety and for the emergency services to come in and put the fire out.
If you have a sprinkler system installed, the fire department may not need to tackle a huge blaze when they arrive at your store.
These systems are usually attached to the ceilings, and depending on the size of the store, they can be chosen to cover a set area with the water. In some cases, they will have smoke detectors and fire alarms built into them. In others, they may be linked to an existing system. Either way, to protect your stock and your shop from a fire, these are a must-have item.
Of course, you will need to also invest in an array of fire extinguishers.
Make sure they are easily accessible and that they can cover a range of different types of fire. If you work in a store where there is a higher potential for an electrical fire, you will need a foam-based extinguisher rather than the standard water. To be on the safe side, it may be best to invest in a water-based extinguisher, a foam one, a CO2 extinguisher, and powder and wet chemical extinguishers.
Fire-Resistant Building Materials
When you are building your store from the ground up, or you are making it over, it can be wise to invest in fireproof materials to place in the ceilings, the floors, and the walls.
These will not stop fires completely but will slow their spread and help to contain the fire, allowing you and your staff to get out of the burning building.