It’s hard to pick up a newspaper or watch a newscast without coming across a story about a devastating fire in a business establishment. Approximately 80,000 commercial fires occur in the U.S. each year, resulting in about 18,000 injuries, 3,000 deaths and billions of dollars in property damage. Fire is also one of the major causes of accidents in the workplace.
Exploring the Numerous Fire Hazards at Work
The many potential causes of fires in the workplace include:
- Careless cooking: While we tend to think of cooking-related fires as only occurring in the home, they are also a leading fire hazard in the office and other work environments. The NFPA reports that about 25 percent of fires in office buildings are caused by cooking equipment. Many workers do not exercise the same degree of caution when cooking at work as they do at home. Preparing food outside of kitchens or other designated cooking areas also poses a significant fire hazard in many workplaces.
- Electrical issues: There are numerous sources of electrical fires in a commercial establishment. Examples include faulty or loose wiring, overloaded circuits and other electrical systems, the unsafe use of electrical equipment and the failure to maintain adequate spacing between electric heating units and combustible materials.
- Careless smokers: These days, most workplaces are required by law to establish designated smoking areas. However, the heavy concentration of smokers in one area can pose a fire hazard. Fires can also be caused by smokers who attempt to “sneak” a cigarette in off-limits areas and fail to properly extinguish it.
- Neglected commercial heating systems: Timely heating system maintenance is often overlooked in many commercial buildings. A neglected heating system will not only lead to increased energy costs, but it can also pose a serious fire hazard.
- Inappropriate storage/handling of combustible materials: Many workplaces are filled with flammable or combustible materials. The failure to safely handle or store these materials can increase the risk of fire. For example, one of the most significant office fire hazards is the improper storage of paper files and documents.
- Improper disposal of waste materials: Some work procedures produce combustible byproducts or require the use of hazardous materials. If not properly disposed of, these materials could ignite and cause a fire.
- Arson: Whether due to acts of vandalism or an effort to collect insurance proceeds, many workplace fires are intentionally set. The commercial buildings most susceptible to arson are those that are unoccupied or abandoned, although virtually any business structure is at risk.
Protect Your Workplace With a Custom-Designed Fire Alarm System
Installing an advanced commercial fire detection system can dramatically reduce the risk of a destructive fire at your facility. The most effective systems feature a combination of fire alarms, smoke detectors and sprinklers and include 24/7 monitoring services. If you own a business in the Phoenix area, Titan Alarm, Inc. can design and install a customized fire alarm system that will provide reliable around-the-clock protection for your facility. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation on-site consultation today.