Fires can start out very small, often as a result of a simple malfunction, overheated electrical wiring, or because of a careless act. A wide variety of hazards can cause an accidental fire, however many cities and towns have also been plagued by a rash of arson fires.
If not detected and extinguished early, a small fire will spread rapidly and quickly become uncontrollable; totally destroying the entire structure and possibly spreading to adjacent structures. Regular building inspections to detect hazards and ensure fire systems are operational, along with the training of staff in the use of fire extinguishers can greatly improve prevention, detection and extinguishment of fires.
- Do not use extension cords for long-term wiring. Long cords left in a coil while plugged-in, can overheat and start a fire.
- Keep paints and flammables to a minimum, and store in approved metal cabinets.
- Portable heaters can be dangerous if not used correctly. Always turn off and unplug heaters when leaving the building.
- Install smoke and/or heat detectors throughout the building. Electric units with battery back-up are the most reliable.
- Test the fire detection system (smoke and heat detectors) annually.
- Have the fire detection system connected to a monitoring station to ensure a rapid response.
- Secure windows and doors at the rear and sides of the building to prevent unauthorized access into the building.
- Install a burglar alarm system to detect any intruders.
- Cut back brush and shrubs well away from the building.
- Cover and padlock garbage bins located outside the building to prevent garbage bin fires.
- Move garbage bins at least 25 feet away from the building to prevent a fire in the bin spreading to the building.
- Install adequate lighting around the property to prevent dark spots where loiterers could hide.
Fire Extinguisher Tips
To use a fire extinguisher correctly remember to use the acronym P.A.S.S
P – pull the pin
A – Aim at the base of the fire
S – Squeeze the trigger
S – Sweep side to side
Fire extinguishers are affordable. Keep a good supply in the building and check them monthly to ensure that they are operational. Have them serviced annually by a qualified contractor. Remember, fire extinguishers are only meant for small fires in their very beginning stage. For bigger fires always CALL 911 and find a safe way out.
For more information on fire prevention strategies, please contact one of our risk management professionals. While risk management strategies can reduce your chances for loss, in the event of a loss it is important to ensure your business has the right level of insurance coverage. Visit our Commercial Insurance page to learn how we can help protect your business.