According to FEMA, there are over 16,500 fires in U.S. offices and retail stores each year. Here are some essential elements in an office fire safety program to help reduce this risk.

Electrical Safety

Check cords and cables for damage. If cords are damaged or wires are exposed stop using the item immediately. Call Facilities, Real Estate and Planning at x4255 to have the cords repaired or replaced.

Power Strips and Extension Cords

  • Power strips must be plugged directly into a wall socket (not an extension cord or another power strip).
  • Do not use power strips with high power items like coffee makers or space heaters. These high power items must be plugged directly to a wall socket.
  • Don’t lay anything on top of a power strip.
  • Extension cords (rather than power cords) may only be used on a temporary basis. Don’t leave extension cords plugged in overnight or when the office is empty.

Combustible Storage and General Housekeeping

Keep the amount of paper and paper waste at a minimum. Rarely access paper files should be scanned electronically and either discarded or sent to off-site storage.

No combustible material may be stored within two feet of the ceiling. This includes paper, wood, and plastic items.

Never block aisles, fire exits, emergency equipment, alarm pull stations or electrical panels with furniture, equipment or materials.

Space Heaters

Space heaters must be UL listed and be equipped with a tip-over feature that shuts the unit off if it falls over.

Space heaters may not be plugged into extension cords or power strips.

Do not keep space heaters near combustible materials like paper, which can catch fire if they come too close to, or contact, the heater.

Turn off space heaters at the end of the day or when you are leaving the office (even for just a minute).