5 common causes of commercial fires
From 2007 to 2016, these five causes were identified as the most common reasons behind commercial fires.
- Cooking/Kitchen Appliances- Because kitchens are an extremely high-risk zone, strong effort should be taken to ensure they are more than adequately protected. Sprinklers, alarms and easily accessible fire extinguishers are an absolute must.
- Arson/Intentional- While you can’t prevent arson completely, you can take precautions to limit the damage and opportunities:
- Make sure trash cans are emptied every day.
- If possible, keep dumpsters away from the building so a dumpster fire can’t spread to the building.
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed to make them harder to set on fire and so arsons can’t use them for cover while setting a fire.
- Put up motion detection cameras or lights in dark or normally unused areas so any fires can be caught and put out faster.
- Install smoke/fire curtains near the doorways of the areas most likely to be used for arson.
- Human Error/Unintentional- Some examples of an unintentional fire include cigarettes being improperly discarded, employees leaving heating equipment too close to walls or flammable surfaces, forgetting to blow out a candle, keeping a messy workstation or improper use of electrical devices (e.g. extension cords).
- HVAC System Malfunction- Roughly 9% of fires happen when an HVAC system malfunctions. This includes central heating systems, as well as water heaters, space heaters, and other appliances.
Heating systems should be regularly inspected, especially during winter when they are used most heavily. And always ensure flammable materials are kept well away from heat sources.
- Electrical Malfunction- About 7% of fires are linked to an electrical system malfunction, often due to problems with wiring in the building. These fires are more likely to occur in older buildings with questionable wiring.
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