The sad events at the Glasgow School of Art serve as a reminder of how devastating fire can be. Through the sterling work of the team of firefighters, nobody was injured, but sadly this is not always the case.
People are often surprised by how incredibly quickly a fire can take hold and escalate, leaving little time for escape.
A thorough and well-practised evacuation plan, that includes provision for visitors, people with disabilities, and other people who may need assistance, is absolutely essential.
Too often, companies have a fire safety plan that sits in a folder, fulfilling legal requirements, but staff members remain unfamiliar with it.
Ensuring that fire safety plans are communicated to employees, fully understood, and actively integrated into working practices, requires a pro-active approach. But the benefits are clear.
Staff members who are well-trained in fire safety strategies, who have been shown how to use fire extinguishers (and, crucially, know when it is appropriate to try to tackle a fire themselves), who ensure that escape routes are kept unobstructed, and who know by heart the procedures to follow, can make the difference between a small incident, and a potentially tragic event.
If anything good can come from the damage to such an iconic site, hopefully it will be this: to remind and encourage people to take real action to ensure that similar dangers are reduced in their own environments. Maybe a few lives will even be saved.