Make Your Office Firesafe

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Is your office up to code? Don Fehsenfeld, fire sergeant and inspector from the Grand Rapids Township Fire Department, visited offices in Cascade today on the look for potential hazards. Fehsenfeld said this summer has seen an unusual amount of residential fires. As a result, he suggests a thorough sweep of any home or office space, especially ones with several electronics.

"You do not want to coil wires," Fehsenfeld says. "People want to make it look tidy, but coiled wires or cords tightly wrapped in a clump heat up like a toaster and can catch fire."

One of the most common causes of fires in offices is an overloaded circuit. Plugging in too many electronics using an extension cord is also a recipe for disaster. Use power strips to plug in multiple devices, or add another outlet, Fehsenfeld suggests.

"Extension cords cannot be substituted permanently for wiring. Replace them with a surge strip," he says.

Preventative measures are key including changing batteries in smoke detectors and lighted exit signs, and checking fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers should be located at least seventy-five feet from all exits, and checked by a third party every three years. Replace fire extinguishers every six years. If the situation to use a fire extinguisher arises, Fehsenfeld says "do not try to put the fire out (completely). Use it to get out of the building."

Train employees in emergency situations by practicing fire exit strategies. Change up the plans each time in case fire is blocking the regular fire exit.

Written by: Erika Fifelski is West Michigan Woman magazine's editorial coordinator. She was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys gardening, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses. Photo: Serendipity Media staff members pose in front of fire truck Friday after their office passes fire inspection.

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