When you run your own business, you often find yourself wearing many different hats in order to be successful. From managing employees to payroll, purchasing, inventory management and so much more, it can be overwhelming to stay on top of all management responsibilities. In every business, it is critically important to ensure the health and safety of your employees and patrons, particularly when it comes to following all government rules and guidelines. One area to pay special attention to relates to fire prevention and safety and the fire codes you must follow. Thankfully, strategically placed labels and signage can help remind employees about the proper behaviors that are needed to stay compliant with specific guidelines.

With that in mind, here are a few avoidable hazards:

Blocked Exits and Locked Doors

It may seem simple, but blocking exits, walkways, and exit paths are common fire code violations. Throughout the course of the business day, it’s so easy to block stairs, doorways or exits when moving, storing or utilizing merchandise, deliveries, and other items – especially when those areas are not frequently used. However, displaying signage prominently in these areas is an effective reminder to all that emergency exit doors, hallways, pathways, and stairways must be kept clear of debris at all times. In addition to keeping your exit routes unobstructed, people must be able to open all exits quickly and easily. For example, the back exit to your business shouldn’t require a unique skeleton key to exit the building. In case of a fire or other emergency, this would definitely cause a problem for anyone trying to use that door to exit.

Improper Fire Extinguisher Use

It is vital that your business has the proper type and quantity of fire extinguishers in place for the specific hazards in the area. For example, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, commercial kitchens should have at least one Class K fire extinguisher readily available. Additionally, they should be easily accessible, clearly marked with permanent graphics, and include instructions on how to operate the extinguisher. Of course, all fire extinguishers should be inspected and serviced regularly.

Unmaintained Fire Alarm and Fire Protection System

Like extinguishers, all fire alarms and their components should be tested annually by a professional fire protection company. In some areas, the local fire department offers this service, as well. Fire alarm pull stations should be visible and accessible and all smoke detectors should be in good working order. Using visual graphics help make sure that your fire alarms are clearly marked and are easy to use.

Remember, many of these violations are easily avoidable and only require education and a few visual cues to remind everyone how to stay compliant. Incorporating eye-catching and visually-simple graphics will mitigate some of the risks of fire code violations. Reach out to your Vernon Graphic Solutions sales representative to learn more about common workplace signage that will go a long way with keeping you and your business safe.