Business Owners & Property Managers
Emergency planning and training directly influence the outcome of an emergency situation. Facilities with well-prepared employees and well-developed preparedness plans are likely to incur less structural damage and fewer or less severe injuries. The following information provides guidance to employers as they create preparedness plans and work toward making workplaces safe.
Business Emergency Response Plan
The West Coast of Florida is prone to a number of natural disasters, heavy electrical lightning storms, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes that make emergency preparedness not just a good idea, but also a vital one. There is a wealth of resources available to help you, your business and your family become more prepared to deal with unexpected events.
The International Fire Code requires certain occupancies to develop a Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan. This plan should include initial and ongoing training for employees with fire emergency procedures which include:
- Evacuation routes, assembly points and an accountability system to know who is out and what critical staff members may have remained inside with patients
- Means of reporting fires/emergencies to the fire department and who will serve as a liaison to the fire department when they arrive
- List of major fire/life safety hazards associated with the use of the building (i.e. hazardous materials)
Be safe at your place of business by developing an evacuation and emergency response plan. It’s important to review emergency plans with your employees, practice your evacuation plan and update it regularly. In order to help you develop your own plan, we have provided a template to get you started.
72 Hour Kits
We also recommend for you to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours without outside assistance.
Commercial Kitchen Cooking
Fires in commercial cooking facilities have occurred throughout the US, and can be disastrous to a business. Seventy-five percent of businesses that suffer a fire loss never re-open. Increase your chances of surviving a fire in your commercial kitchen by ensuring the fire protection system and commercial exhaust ventilation system are properly maintained..
Monthly inspections of your commercial kitchen hood suppression systems are required to be completed and documented by the business and systems are required to be serviced by certified contractors at least every 6 months. We have provided a monthly inspection log template in our forms area which can be downloaded and used to track inspections.
The metal surfaces of the hood and surrounding surfaces are required to be free from any grease build up at all times. Please be sure to have the entire exhaust system cleaned in accordance with NFPA 96 by a certified contractor.
In 2007, U.S. Firefighters responded to too many apartment fires resulting in the displacement of tenants and large dollar loses in property damage.
To reduce these devastating fires, the Fire Marshal’s Office has developed a Multi-Family Housing Fire Reduction Program. This innovative, multi-faceted program offers resources and training for landlords, property owners, and tenants in hopes of keeping their apartment community safer from fire. Call the Fire Marshal’s Office or send us an email if you would like to arrange to attend one of these training seminars or learn more.
Knox Boxes & Locks
Knox boxes provide firefighters with keys to buildings when they need access during after-hours periods. The boxes are required to be installed on the premise for properties that have an automatic fire sprinkler or fire alarm system. The boxes are secure and nearly impenetrable steel key lock boxes purchased by residential and commercial property owners. They are mounted near the entrance to the property and may hold keys, electronic card keys and other vital tools. The boxes can be ordered with a tamper switch allowing the access to be monitored by a security system.
In Pinellas County, order forms for a Knox/ Supra box can be received by calling the Fire Marshal’s Office (for Gulfport Businesses) at 727-893-1064. Due to the various product sizes offered by Knox and Supra Companies, please discuss your selection with a fire marshal prior to ordering the knox box. Certain types of key access systems do not fit into certain style knox boxes.
Before installation, also contact your fire marshal to approve best placement consistent with requirements. Property managers must coordinate a meeting with the Fire Department to place the keys and lock the box. It is necessary that a fire marshal be contacted whenever keys to the building are updated or changed so that a new set of keys can be placed into the knox box.