We didn’t start the fire🎶
While Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire is an extremely catchy tune, it’s not something you want to hear as a building manager. It’s important to have all the fire protection systems in place to ensure your building’s safety. Fire prevention should be your main priority.
Having all the important precautions in place is important, but you also need to understand why fires start in commercial buildings. Here are the top 5 causes of commercial fires, so you can be prepared when you need it most.
One of the most common causes of fires in commercial buildings are cooking fires. Any business that has a kitchen area is susceptible to cooking fires. Some of these fires begin by human error, while others stem from appliance malfunction. Your kitchen should be considered a high-risk zone and should be adequately protected with sprinkler systems, alarms, and fire extinguishers.
Here are a few of the leading commercial buildings affected by cooking fires:
- 64% of fires in healthcare facilities are related to cooking.
- 61% of fires in restaurants are related to cooking.
- 38% of fires in educational institutions are related to cooking.
- 29% of fires in office properties are related to cooking.
- 13% of fires in stores and mercantile properties are related to cooking.
Heating equipment-related fires
During colder months, most commercial buildings require additional heat in order for workers to remain comfortable. The equipment required to keep your building warm is susceptible to overheating and starting fires. This equipment might include central heating units, fireplaces, water heaters, and other heating appliances. Heating equipment accounts for 14% of fires in industrial/manufacturing properties and 11% of fires in office buildings.
Electrical and lighting equipment
Any electricity within your building carries inherent fire risks. Electrical fires can occur with overloaded circuits, loose connections, faulty fuses, imbalanced electrical loads, and other electrical and lighting problems.
Most electrical fires stem from older buildings’ electrical wiring. However, it is important to stay proactive and have your new building inspected. You should also perform preventative maintenance annually.
Intentional fires account for 10% of fires that occur in commercial buildings. These fires tend to cause the most damage and unfortunately, result in the most civilian injuries and deaths.
It is important to implement active fire safety measures and include fire safety in areas that may seem uncommon. These fires typically occur in bathrooms, trash bins, garages, or open areas like a lawn or field.
Human error and unexpected fires account for about 10% of fires started in commercial buildings. Unplanned fires happen. They may stem from a variety of situations. For example, employees may leave a space heater on or plug too many things into an extension cord.
While you can’t stop carelessness, you can implement proper employee training programs. These programs help educate your employees on how to prevent fires and put them out when they do occur.
At VFS, we are dedicated to ensuring that your building and your employees remain safe from harm. We partner with our clients to develop the best fire protection solutions and safety training based on your business’s specific needs. Fortify your building, protect your employees and gain the peace of mind you deserve knowing that VFS is protecting your business.