We all mourned the lives claimed by the Grenfell Tower fire in West London last June. 80 people have been confirmed dead, with most them still unidentified, and millions of properties destroyed.
The fire started in the wee hours of June 14 and it wasn’t until morning that the building has been totally fire out. According to the news, the fire was caused by a faulty refrigerator. Survivors say that they heard someone telling his neighbors that his fridge was on fire. There are also speculations that the building’s external cladding contributed to the quick spreading of the fire.
This disaster can happen anywhere, not just in UK.
And this can also happen to commercial buildings.
As a business owner, it is important to protect your assets and the people working for you. That’s why it has been a requirement for businesses in Australia to install fire protection systems to prevent and control fire.
Here are some of the lessons we need to learn from the Grenfell Tower disaster so that we can prevent this from happening to us.
- Do not use faulty equipment. Aside from the usual wear and tear, equipment with faulty wiring, outdated programs and defective hardware can easily cause fire. It is important to check your equipment and machines to ensure that they are in good working condition. Schedule a monthly regular check up of all equipment. If something is defective, do not use it. Have it fixed or replaced immediately to avoid electrical fires.
-Check and make sure that you are not overloading your circuits as well.
-Watch out for frayed or damaged cords.
-Keep your equipment away from materials that easily catch fire like paper, alcohol, curtains, etc.
- Don’t skimp on materials used for renovation. According to the investigation, the fire rapidly spread travelling upwards outside of the building, killing at least 80 people and injuring several others. Because of this, attention was quickly shifted to the cladding used during the most recent refurbishment. Analysis showed that the contractors used a combustible filler for the inside panels of aluminium cladding, causing the fire to travel up the outside of the building.
Lesson learned: Use fire retardant materials in the construction or renovation of the building. Install fire doors to compartmentalise the fire and prevent it from spreading to other floors. Do not skimp on your materials because these little details matter in case of a fire incident.
- Have a working fire system. According to reports, residents of the block have warned about the fire safety risks of the building a few months before the actual fire. In a news article by Mirror, one of the residents, Maryam Adam, said “There was no alarm. We ran out and saw that the fire was already spreading.”
Another survivor, Aalya Moses also said, “There was no alarm, no sprinkler, just my neighbour who told everyone on my floor and the surrounding floors.” Some residents also said that some of the stairways were blocked so they couldn’t get out.
The most important aspect of any fire protection system is that they should be working. What’s the point of installing a fire alarm that does not go off when it needs to? And what’s the purpose of fire sprinklers if they can’t control the fire? Here are some tips on how to choose the best fire prevention for your office. There are many things to consider when choosing a fire protection system so it is best to consult with a fire expert in your area before choosing.
If you have a fire system installed, schedule a regular or monthly check up to make sure the devices are working as they should be. Not only will you save your business, you will also save a lot of lives.
- Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly. Make sure your employees know what to do when a fire breaks out. Prepare an evacuation plan and practice it at least every month so your people know how to get out, where to go and what to do afterwards.
The Grenfell Tower fire incident could have been prevented, or at least the damage would be minimised, if these factors have been considered. There is no medicine for regret in this world but there are several ways to make sure that this tragedy does not happen again. As a business owner, your priority is to protect your assets and investing in a solid fire protection system should be your first step.