It is a common scenario. A small element caused a huge fire that causes a business to close for repairs. As the days tick by, the owner loses more and more. Eventually, they make a decision not to reopen. Commercial fires are one of the biggest and most damaging threats to any business, yet shockingly, most commercial fires are caused by common issues that could have been easily avoided.
So why do so many not take steps to avoid them? Business owners wear a lot of hats and most are occupied with the immediate concerns of the business, such as inventory needs or employee management, and while they intend to develop a real fire prevention strategy, it gets pushed down the todo list. We justify it by saying fires are not common or happen elsewhere.
Nobody wants to consider the real possibility of fire destroying our business, or worse. However, commercial fires common and have lasting, damaging effects on the business. In 2016 alone, there were 96,800 fires in non-residential structures accounting for 145 deaths, 1,550 injuries and $2,007,300,00 in losses, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
How to Avoid Common Causes of Commercial Fire
Kitchens and Cooking
Cooking is one of the most common causes of fires in non-residential buildings. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicates that three out of every five fires in restaurants and one out of every four fires in office buildings are caused by cooking equipment.
Ensure the proper use and maintenance of kitchen equipment. Install fire detection and suppression systems and professional monitoring.
Carelessness and human error such as tossing a cigarette cause around 10% of commercial fires.
Monitor the workplace for unsafe practices. Employ the use of early fire detection and fire alarm systems to help minimize damage.
Did you know that most electrical fires are not caused by faulty wiring? Overloaded systems or practices that violate the electrical code are the cause of most electrical fires.
Call an electrician to make any needed changes to your electrical system and ensure the proper use of all sockets.
HVAC Systems and Heat Devices
Heaters and heating appliances such as water heaters are another common cause of commercial fires. Most of these are due to the systems being in ill-repair, or practices such as storing flammable products near the systems.
Have all systems regularly serviced and inspected. Ensure their proper use and keep all flammable products away from sources of ignition. Have fire alarms in every area of your building.
Acts of Arson
Unfortunately, another common cause of commercial fires is arson. Arson fires can be caused by anyone, from vagrants and vandals to disgruntled customers or employees.
Secure the property and use security technologies such as video surveillance and intrusion detection systems to aid in the identification of vandals and others seeking to do harm. It is also important to have the right fire alarm, fire detection, and suppression technologies to detect, alert, and suppress a fire as soon as it erupts.
Protect your business from the threat of fire. Sentry is a recognized local leader in security and fire technologies and professional monitoring. Contact us today for more information!