According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are as many as 1,210 warehouse fires every year. And the kind of damage wrought by this scenario can burn a hole in a business owner’s assets and budget.
Since “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” in the world of fire safety, the best way to keep this scenario from happening to you is to know the most common causes of fires in warehouses and adjust accordingly.
When an electrical system is outdated or inefficient, the wires and outlets become overheated. This can burn through insulation and set surrounding material on fire. Additionally, heavy equipment can increase your business’s risk of an arc flash. Arc flashes occur when a conductive material like a metal tool or an unprotected hand enters the electric field surrounding wires, causing an electrical explosion.
The most important step to preventing electrical fires is to update your warehouse’s electrical systems, especially the wires. However, even updating your wiring may not be enough to prevent an arc flash. Hosting training sessions and providing PPE is your best defense.
Temperature control is essential for the safety of the products you’re housing and the comfort of the employees handling them. However, space heaters, boilers, and other heating methods are extremely common causes of warehouse fires.
The trick to preventing them is following best practices for heat. Instead of filling your warehouse with multiple fire-causing space heaters, look to update old, inefficient heating systems. Also, create an inspection and maintenance schedule for heating systems, ducts, and chimneys.
While we can do our best to improve our own processes to prevent accidental fires, it’s hard to predict and control someone setting fire to a building intentionally. And unfortunately, arsonists account for a significant percentage of all warehouse fires.
However, there are some steps you can take to help prevent and mitigate this kind of damage:
- Increase security surveillance, such as cameras and alarms.
- Improve fencing around your property.
- Perform background checks on all your employees.
- Update your warehouse’s fire detection and sprinkler system.
- Ensure your insurance policy covers arson.
In any case, one of the biggest causes of warehouse fires is being underprepared. By keeping in mind how fires start and creating plans of action for your business, you can keep your employees and your building safe.