Though fires aren’t the most common types of warehouse accidents, they can be exceptionally dangerous when they occur.
Not only does fire destroy expensive warehouse equipment and stock, but it can also harm the employees to the extent of even causing death.
So, fire outbreaks can cost a business a lot of money. For instance, you can lose all your warehouse premise properties or face personal injury lawsuits if an employee is hurt by the fire or injured when trying to escape from the fire. That’s why businesses need to ensure their warehouse environments are safe from fire. In addition, to help deal with fire outbreak emergencies, businesses can install fire protection software.
This article walks you through some simple yet effective strategies to keep your warehouse fireproof. However, to better manage fire outbreaks, it’d be a good idea first to understand some common causes of warehouse fires.
What Are Common Causes Of Warehouse Fires?
Though sometimes fire outbreaks are unpredictable, understanding the most causes of warehouse fires can help you plan and put effective measures to prevent or manage the fire.
Some common causes of warehouse fires include the following.
Arson is a criminal act of deliberately putting warehouse properties on fire by an employee or an outside party. It’s one of the most common causes of fires in many businesses.
Electrical and Lighting
Electrical and lighting is another major cause of fires in warehouses. This happens when there’s an electrical failure, thus causing the ignition of the fire.
Sometimes, your warehouse equipment can overheat, thus causing a fire outbreak. Some of the warehouse equipment that can overheat include the heating system, confined fuel burner, space heaters, and any other type of machine used to heat a warehouse.
Flammable and Combustible Materials
Some warehouse materials and chemicals are highly flammable. Improper storage of such materials can cause a fire. The outbreak of fire occurs, especially when those materials are stored near fire ignition sources.
Smoking is a fire hazard, especially when done in enclosed environments. An enclosed area like a warehouse can have combustible materials that can catch fire, especially when smokers discard cigarette butts carelessly.
What Can Be Done To Keep Warehouses Fireproof?
As earlier noted, some fires aren’t easy to predict. So, businesses must have both fire preventive and containing measures in place. Below are the most important warehouse fire safety tips.
- Work with A Fire Safety Professional
One of the best ways to prevent or contain warehouse fires is by working with a fire protection service provider. The fire protection service providers can provide you with the best fire protection advice on preventing and controlling fire outbreaks. They can also test your fire protection systems to ensure that they’re working.
However, to always keep in touch with a fire protection provider, you must install fire protection service software on your business website. The software ensures you can reach out to your service provider whenever you’re faced with any fire emergency.
- Train Your Employees on Fire Safety
Employee training is another most effective way to keep costly and life-threatening fire accidents from happening. So, you need to have fire safety training schedules in place and encourage your employees to attend these programs. Also, ensure your employees know what to do and where to assemble in case of a fire outbreak.
Training of employees has many benefits. First, you’ll avoid spending money on litigation cases when one of your employees is hurt. Secondly, you’ll avoid fines and penalties from the government, especially in a nation where continuous training for employees working in high-risk areas is compulsory.
- Install Fire Alarms
Sometimes a fire outbreak can occur when no employee is on the warehouse premise. In such a case, the fire can go on uncontrollably. That’s why you need to install fire and smoke alarms to notify you whenever there’s a fire outbreak.
Installing fire alarms is the best way to save your warehouse properties. It can alert you about the fire outbreak so that you can take the necessary measures to contain or prevent it from spreading. To ensure your fire alarms are working, be sure to test them regularly, most preferably twice a week.
- Proper Storage for Flammable Materials
One of the best ways to ensure flammable materials and chemicals don’t catch fire is by storing them in their recommended way. So, it’d be necessary to choose the right storage container material.
Depending on the chemical, some container materials include glass, plastic, and metal. For each chemical, use a container approved by the occupational safety and health administration.
- Encourage Employees to Wear Protective Clothing
Some warehouse machines can generate excessive heat or create some sparks. Such machines can cause fire, thus posing a great danger to the employees. However, your employees can reduce the impact of the fire outbreak by wearing fire protection gear.
Protective clothing can prevent the fire sparks from igniting one’s clothes or burning their skin. So, make it compulsory for any employee working in your warehouse to wear protective clothing.
- Have Fire Extinguishers In Place
Fire extinguishers are one of the most effective ways to control a small fire from spreading. That’s why warehouses should have several fire extinguishers in strategic points within reach of the employees.
For that reason, you must also train your employees on how to use the different types of extinguishers. This ensures that any employee can put off the fire at any time. To ensure your fire extinguishers are properly working, be sure to inspect them regularly.
- Keep Your Working Space Clean
The last effective way of preventing fire in your warehouse is by ensuring your working space is tidy. If you litter your workspace with papers, garbage, and other materials, your warehouse can easily be destroyed by fire.
An untidy environment is at risk, especially when such materials are highly combustible or when your workstation is generating sparks. To avoid that, make sure you dispose of your garbage appropriately.
In addition, keep all your warehouse exits clean and clear. Ensure your employees have a clear path to allow them to enter and leave the warehouse building without much hassle. Having clear paths ensures your employees can easily vacate the warehouse without injuries whenever there’s a fire outbreak.
Fire outbreaks in warehouses can be destructive to both the properties and the employees, thus causing a lot of losses to the business. To prevent these losses and maximize your profits, you need to protect your warehouse against fire. You can prevent fire from damaging your warehouse by implementing one or all of the above-discussed strategies.