Protecting your business from fire risks | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South
Business owners have much to take into consideration regarding risks to their business, staff and visitors. As a business owner, one of those risks you need to spend a little extra time planning for and working toward preventing is a fire.
Top Causes of Commercial Structure Fires
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007–2011, listed in order, were:
- Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
- Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
- Heating equipment, 11% of fires
- Intentional, 10% of fires
- Smoking materials, 9% of fires
- Exposure, 4% of fires
- Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires
Three of those causes—intentional, exposure, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment—were responsible for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15%, respectively.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2007, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities.
In looking at more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year. Those fires resulted in an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.
Ways to Protect Your Commercial Property
So, what steps can you take to protect your business and employees from the risk of fires? By placing an emphasis on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you are taking steps to reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.
First, make an assessment of your facility, looking for any fire hazard risks. In some areas, the local government may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.
Next, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right fire protection equipment in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.
Last, and most important, you must make provisions for the human aspect of your business—your employees. Create a fire plan and review it regularly with your staff, thereby ensuring that everyone is aware of the procedures to follow in the event of a fire. By conducting fire drills at least once a year, you keep fire safety procedures fresh, and it will also afford you the opportunity to review evacuation plans and first-aid kit locations.
Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is available to help make it "Like it never even happened."