Warehouse Fire Safety

Warehouse distribution safety managers have a lot on their plates. In many cases, they’re responsible for juggling multiple sites at once and it becomes easy for certain things to get put on the back burner – especially with regards to things like a facility’s fire protection needs. If you’re someone who’s having a hard time finding ways to make fire safety a priority, or simply just seeking the correct place to start, then today’s blog is for you!

Here are some common warehouse fire risks to be aware of and some things that you and your team can do to help mitigate the risk. Let’s jump right in!

Common Causes of Warehouse Fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) releases a study every five years that documents the last few years in fire hazards. One of the pieces they release is about structure fires in warehouse properties. 

In the past five years, fire departments responded to an average of 1,210 warehouse fires per year – to the tune of about $155 million in direct property damage as well as 19 civilians injured and three deaths. 220 of those were intentional fires and those fires were also the most destructive. The next few, in order – included:

  • Electrical (18%)
  • Trash and or waste (170 fire per year)
  • Heating/heated equipment (90 fires for $5 million in damage)
  • Combustible/flammable liquids and materials (6% of fires) 
  • Cigarette-related fires (60 fires for $17 million in damage per year)

Whenever you are putting together a fire safety plan for your distribution center – keep in mind that these are your biggest areas of risk. 

What Can I Do To Prevent These Fires?

Most warehouses are large spaces with extremely high ceilings, lots of square footage, and racks upon racks packed sky-high in both open and closed containers. Managing this space can be challenging, but there are some things you can do, including:

  • Making sure you have the correct fire safety equipment for your space and the contents of your space
  • Making sure you have a regularly maintained and inspected fire sprinkler system
  • Making sure life safety systems are up to date and fully functioning
  • Training employees on fire safety and how to prevent common warehouse dangers. 

Who Can Help You?

The list we just provided you with is a good place to start, but sometimes trying to determine priorities can be difficult. That’s where companies like ours come into play. We can not only help you address a lot of these issues, but we can work with your staff with regards to training, ensuring that you’re compliant with local regulatory codes and that your fire safety systems are in good, working order. 

To learn more about how we can make your warehouse or distribution center a safer place, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. Good luck!

The Three Essential Components of a Workplace Fire Safety Training Program

Fires are a very real threat to almost any workplace. While it’s true that industrial and manufacturing settings are at a higher risk than a more traditional office setting – anyone can be the victim of a fire. 

Therefore, it is vital that you have an evacuation and safety plan in place. Even more importantly, your employees need to be trained so that they know how to react in the event that the worst happens. But what should that training entail and what are the important details that they need to know? That’s the question we’re going to answer today.

Here are some of the things that should be included when it comes to training your employees on fire safety. Let’s jump right in.

Recognizing Fire Hazards

Perhaps the most important aspect of any workplace fire safety training program is teaching employees how to recognize potential fire hazards. All fires need three things in order to happen:

  1. Heat (a source of ignition)
  2. Fuel (anything flammable)
  3. Oxygen (what keeps the fire going)

When all three of these things exist, fire’s can start and maintain themselves. Preventing fires starts by keeping these things away from each other and also recognizing when they aren’t. This helps to prevent fires from happening, period.

Any workplace fire safety training should first teach employees what fire-starting components are and how they can identify them. The better they know how to look out for these things the better off they’ll be at preventing fires. 

What To Do If There Is A Fire

You may have a fire safety plan but do your employees know exactly what they’re supposed to do? When that alarm goes off, do they know what to do and where to go? In any sound fire safety training program, employees should know:

1.) Their role in executing the plan

2.) How to leave/exit the building

3.) What to do as they evacuate;

4.) Where to regroup 

5.) What to do if they physically encounter heat, smoke, or fire

By covering these basics, you will ensure that your employees will be as prepared as possible in the event the worst occurs. 

How Equipment Works

The third foundational component of workplace fire safety training needs to be about equipment and how it works. How pull stations work and are activated; how to find and operate fire extinguishers; who to call and notify if something goes wrong; and also how sprinklers and other suppression systems work.

These programs should all be taught by professionals. They’ll be able to cover a variety of materials including differences among fire extinguishers, what chemicals are used for what, what – exactly – they should do, and the like.

If you have questions about how to implement fire safety training in your workplace, feel free to give us a call and we’re happy to walk you through the process. Until then, good luck!