Understanding the common causes of warehouse fires puts you in a good position to do the best possible work you can do for fire safety – preventing them before they
have the opportunity to start. Some of the common causes are fairly predictable, but others might surprise you.
Fires that are set intentionally – it is unfortunately the case that by far one of the most common causes of warehouse fires are those that are deliberately
started, known officially as arson.
There are suggestions that arson cases make up nearly one third of all fire-related property damage and 18% of specific warehouse fires. These arson cases could be a
result of a deliberate petty criminal act or even as a part of insurance fraud.
Problems with electricity and lighting – coming in at a very close second place of causes of warehouse fires is issues with electrical and lighting equipment.
These types are fires are typically less damaging to properties than intentionally started fires, but they are still a major problem for those in charge of warehouse fire safety. This is something
that those in charge of warehouse safety need to take very seriously.
- Heating equipment – be careful when you are heating up a warehouse during the colder months because while this can be an essential part of the smooth
running of your operation, it can be a serious fire risk. Around eight per cent of warehouse fires are caused by heating equipment, making it the third most common cause of fire in this setting.
- Exposure – the next most common cause of warehouse fires is something called ‘exposure’. This is a specific firefighting term that refers to materials
that are combustible but that are not currently on fire. So, this applies to warehouses that contain large amounts of materials that could catch fire if they were exposed to a flame or heat source.
Exposures account for around seven per cent of warehouse fires.
- Smoking materials – it is probably no surprise, but it is still important to note here that the materials involved in smoking are the cause of a large
number of warehouse fires. Cigarettes, cigars, and lighters are responsible for around five per cent of the total number of warehouse fires.
What can you do to prevent them?
There are many things that businesses can be to minimise their risk of fires occurring. Here are three key things that you need pay attention to in your warehouse.
Fire Risk Assessments – it is a legal requirement to have a fire risk assessment carried out under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, however not
all assessments are created equal. It is advisable to have professionals manage this process for you to ensure that it is carried out correctly.
Smoke Detectors – you should ensure that you have smoke detectors installed across your warehouse paying special attention to any areas that may be vulnerable to
fire breaking out. Some owners worry about the prospect of putting detectors in place with a sprinkler system because they are concerned an overzealous system could be set off incorrectly and items
could be ruined. However, it is always more important to think about safety.
Fire Extinguishers – you should have appropriate fire extinguishers in place across your warehouse, however it is important to note that fire extinguishers should
only be used appropriately.
This article was originally published on IFSEC Global.