Workplace fires can cause massive damage to a property, injure occupants, and even result in fatalities. Fire safety in commercial property is essential. Protecting your property and its tenants begins with understanding the risks. In this guide, we will look at the leading causes of commercial fires and how to prevent them. We have also included guidance for extinguishing fires, as not all fires can be tackled in the same way, and in some cases taking the wrong approach can worsen the situation.
Causes of commercial property fires
Commercial kitchen fires
Kitchen fires are a leading cause of residential fires (as we discussed in our “Biggest Causes Of Fires In Domestic Properties” post). But they are also a huge threat to commercial properties. There are many commercial properties with kitchens and cooking equipment that pose a risk, such as restaurants and hotels.
To reduce the risks to your business, ensure all your equipment is in full working order. Faulty equipment creates a significant fire risk, as we will discuss in the electrical fire section below.
You can reduce the risk of a kitchen fire further by;
maintaining a clean kitchen
storing chemicals away from heat sources
avoiding wearing loose clothing in the kitchen
Never leave cooking food unattended! Many kitchen fires are grease fires which are particularly dangerous. Grease fires from fat or oil can spread rapidly and are more challenging to extinguish than other types of fire. Cooking oil fires (also known as Class F fires) can typically be extinguished with a fire blanket. If the fire does require a fire extinguisher use a wet chemical, water mist of ABF foam fire extinguisher.
Another leading cause of office fires is electrical equipment and wiring. To reduce risks have all appliances PAT tested. To ensure only safe-to-use appliances are used in your workplace, avoid plugging in appliances from home.
You can also decrease the risk of an electrical fire by;
Implementing a system for reporting faulty or damaged equipment
Have qualified professionals carry out regular maintenance on electrical appliances
Turn off electrical appliances when they are not in use
Electrical fires are not limited to portable appliances. Have certified professionals conduct fixed wire testing to identify any issues with your property’s electrical installations.
Electrical fires must be put out using a CO2 extinguisher. Do not use water fire extinguishers around electrical equipment.
How to prevent and stop commercial fires
Fire risk assessments
Before implementing fire safety changes, you should gain a clear understanding of the risk in your property. A fire risk assessment will identify hazards and help you understand the severity and likelihood of an incident. From there, a risk assessment will help you define ways to improve your fire safety to protect people on the property and the property itself.
Fire alarms are essential to your fire safety. Whilst every measure should be taken to prevent a fire, if one does occur, you need to be made aware of it quickly. The ability to quickly respond to a fire will improve your ability to extinguish it and evacuate the building safely. To maximise your safety, ensure you use the right fire alarms throughout your building. You can learn about the different types of fire alarms and where each is best utilised in our guide, “5 Things To Consider When Choosing A Fire Alarm”.
Your property needs fire extinguishers. They are essential to your safety and a legal requirement. You need an adequate supply of extinguishers suited to the risks present in your building. As discussed above, there are several different fire risks which may be present in your workplace. You must have the appropriate extinguishers for each, such as ABF foam or wet chemical extinguishers, where there is a risk of a cooking oil fire. Find out more about fire extinguishers in our guide to replacing your fire safety equipment.
Discuss fire safety with accredited professionals
For support in improving your workplace fire safety speak with our accredited team. We can help you through the entire process, from fire risk assessment to installing and maintaining fire alarms and fire doors. To find out more, speak with a fire safety expert.
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