It's easy to get complacent about fire safety. But as tempting as it is to assume your business is exempt from the risk of a blaze breaking out, resting on your laurels is a recipe for ruin.

Unlikely as they may be, fires do happen.

Just look at the recent disaster in Exeter.

As flames burnt through the Royal Clarence Hotel and neighbouring buildings for days, local business owners and residents had a sharp wake-up call to the frightening reality of fire.

Said to be the oldest hotel in England, it's now demolished. Besides being a historic tragedy, the full extent of the financial cost of the major incident has yet to be revealed.

Avoiding a disaster

No one wants to end up in a similar situation, helplessly watching their life's work go up in flames before having to deal with the devastating fallout afterward. Recovery processes are slow and often fail if the damage is too extensive.

With this in mind, we've highlighted three of the most important fire safety rules to implement at your workplace. Take a look.

#1: know the laws

The government puts fire safety responsibilities firmly on your shoulders, but they also have a comprehensive set of regulations and guidelines to help you put an effective strategy in place.

From risk assessments to staff training and safety measures, they cover everything you need to do to keep your employees - and your premises - free from harm.

As helpful as they are when it comes to getting your workplace safe, with local councils even offering visits from fire safety officers, they're strict about enforcing their standards. Failure to comply could leave you with a serious fine or jail time, so it's not worth the risk.

#2: adopt a preventative mindset

Prevention is key for avoiding the nightmare situation of a devastating blaze, and is easy enough to accomplish by anticipating the likely causes of an accident.

Electrical faults are one of the leading sources of workplace fires and are particularly frustrating to deal with since they can often be easily avoided with proper Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).

Staying on top of general maintenance is your responsibility, as is ensuring that all other staff members realise the potential consequences of their actions (such as overloading sockets or leaving plugs switched on).

#3: protect your staff and assets

Even with precaution, training and the most comprehensive of preventative procedures, accidents still happen.

Don't let all your previous efforts go to waste by missing out the last vital step in fire safety - protective measures. Durasteel fire-proofing services and blast walls will keep employees - and valuable stock or equipment - safe from a blaze until the emergency responders arrive.

Besides installing physical protective systems, regularly check that alarms are in full working order and exits are clearly maintained - any obstruction could waste valuable time in the face of an evacuation.

As the people of Exeter have recently discovered, however unlikely they seem, fires can quickly wreak havoc with your business. Being as prepared as possible and making safety your priority is your best bet for tackling the potential threat of a blaze.