In a year of pivoting and changing your business to react to the unprecedented risks, it feels like we are back on the road to normal. But before you relax too much, fire protection should be an ongoing concern of a business owner. One of your best defenses against commercial fires is to understand and mitigate your risks.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the five most common causes of fires in commercial buildings are cooking equipment, heating equipment, electrical and lighting equipment, smoking materials, and intentional fire setting. By knowing what may cause a commercial fire, your business can take proper precautions to prevent damage to your property.
Of course, commercial restaurants are riskiest. Because of high cooking temperatures, flammable oils and grease, and the hectic nature of commercial kitchens, this is the single most common cause of commercial fires. However, most businesses have at least a simple kitchen area for employee use. Cooking equipment is responsible for:
Depending on the climate, commercial buildings require heat to stay comfortable for several months of the year. As with other mechanical equipment, furnaces, boilers, and radiators are at risk of overheating and leading to a fire. Central heating units, fireplaces, water heaters, and other heating appliances and systems should be regularly inspected to prevent fires. Move any flammable materials and furniture away from heat sources.
All buildings require electrical wiring behind the wall for light and power. Old or defective wiring, overloaded circuits, loose connections, faulty fuses, imbalanced electrical loads, and many other electrical or lighting problems can develop that lead to overheating or sparks that ignite a fire.
Electrical fires are particularly hazardous because they can’t be put out with water. Always make sure your fire extinguisher is close by and in good working order. Keep in mind that business owners are legally required to care for electrical equipment, and regular PAT testing (that is, Portable Appliance Testing) is vital.
Warehouses have a high risk of fire due to the large quantities of stock and materials they often hold: paper, cardboard, wood. Ensure that all materials are properly stored, well away from ignition sources. Workshops and garages have flammable liquids and as sparks from circular saws and similar tools to ignite them. Don;t forget the seldom used materials like gardening and maintenance equipment.
Lighted cigars, cigarettes, and other smoking materials can start fires if disposed of improperly. Be sure that your staff only uses the approved receptacles for refuse.
More concerning is purposefully set fires. Research suggests that up to 45% of all serious fires are caused by arson. Intentional fires also result in more civilian injuries and deaths than other fires. Identify where your property is at risk, and effectively secure your site against outside vandals. Key holders that lock up the building need to be particularly aware of their responsibilities.
Consider investing in overnight security if your location warrants it; most are started between 3pm and midnight. Doors and windows will naturally need to be locked, and it may be wise to install CCTV to cover expansive areas. Employees need to stay alert, check visitor credentials, and follow established protocol for reporting suspicious behavior.
Since 2010, they have provided our neighbors in Cache Valley with quality property restoration and reconstruction services. Sierra Restoration restores dreams– one home at a time with value, quality, and timeliness.