Office building fires can be catastrophic to a business, with residual costs, simply beyond repairs for many building owners and managers. Although you may have been fortunate enough never to have experienced a situation like this, it’s important to be aware of some common causes so that you can take the proper precautions.
1. Cooking Equipment
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that cooking equipment is the most frequent cause of office building fires (29%). Building occupants and staff should be reminded to apply the same safety precautions they take at their own homes when doing any cooking at the office. Specifically, the NFPA recommends:
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use a timer to remind yourself that you have food cooking.
- Keep flammable materials (paper towels, dish clothes, paper, etc.) away from stoves or other heat generating appliances.
- Regularly clean cooking devices to prevent grease build up.
2. Electrical and Lighting Equipment
Electrical issues are the second leading cause of office building fires (12%) as per the NFPA. As a building owner or manager, it’s critical that you are selective when hiring electrical contractors to do work in your building. An unskilled or negligent worker could improperly install or service your electrical devices, potentially causing a fire. It’s encouraged that you perform due diligence when sourcing and hiring any contractor to install or service your electrical and lighting equipment.
3. Heating Equipment
According to the NFPA, the third most likely cause of an office building fire is heating equipment (11%). Examples of these types of items can include space heaters in your cubicle to hot plates typically located in staff kitchens. The NFPA has provided some useful tips to prevent potential fires due to heating equipment:
- Keep flammable materials several feet away from heating equipment.
- Turn the heating equipment off if you’re leaving the room.
- Use a timing device if you have one.
- Schedule all your heating equipment to turn off at specific times of the day.
- Follow manufacturers instructions on how to use the heater, or have a professional install the system for you.
Additional Safety Measures
Office building fires can be easily avoided by employing some of the preventative actions listed in this article. In addition to these items, some other safety measures you should include in your building’s life safety plan include:
- Make sure you have adequate fire extinguishers around the office.
- Keep the batteries in your smoke detectors fresh, and test them monthly.
- Consider fire alarm and smoke detector monitoring.
You’ve invested countless time, effort and money into your business. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself against fire hazards, and train your staff on how to prevent fires in the work place.
For over 30 years, Fire Monitoring of Canada (FMC) has been a leader in the monitoring of fire alarm and intrusion alarm systems. If you would like to learn more about fire alarm systems, call us at 1 888 789 FIRE (3473), email email@example.com, or fill out the contact form below.