If you manage a Houston area distribution center, you watch a lot of goods come and go every day. Your employees are busy working as productively as possible, but speedy actions and carelessness can unfortunately result in fire.
According to recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, about 1,210 fires break out in distribution centers and warehouses each year (excluding properties with refrigerated or cold storage). These blazes result in annual averages of $155 million in property damage, three civilian deaths and 19 civilian injuries.
US fire departments report that fires caused by lighting equipment and arsonists are the two leading causes of distribution center fires, each accounting for 18 percent of the total. Heating equipment is the next leading cause at 8 percent, followed by exposure fires at 7 percent and smoking materials at 5 percent.
About one in four distribution center fires is considered confined or contained, and 14 percent remain confined to the object that originated the fire. These blazes are easier to put out and pose far less of a threat to your merchandise and employees.
Because the risk of fire always exists, it’s your responsibility to take measures to mitigate that risk. Installing fire protection equipment, keeping up with maintenance and following fire codes provides the best protection against potential fires in your distribution center.
Fire sprinklers are the first option you should explore for automatic fire protection in your distribution center. They sense heat rising from a fire and activate one head at a time to contain the blaze while minimizing water damage.
Fire suppression systems are a good alternative to sprinklers if you want automated protection without any water involved. When sensors detect a fire, they cover the surfaces below them with air-filled bubbles to smother the fire and put it out quickly.
Fire extinguishers put firefighting power in your employees’ hands. Their quick response can put out a rogue blaze before it has a chance to spread. ABC fire extinguishers are appropriate for distribution centers that could face ordinary fires, electrical fires and flammable liquid fires.
Fire alarm systems provide important protection for building occupants. By quickly alerting everyone of the emergency, your employees can evacuate before their lives are in danger.
It’s not enough to install fire sprinklers, suppression systems, extinguishers and alarms – you must also properly maintain them to ensure functionality for years to come. Without regular tests and inspections from a qualified fire protection company, you could be left without a functioning fire protection system when you need it most. Make system maintenance a yearly priority, or as often as required for your equipment.
Distribution centers are required to follow certain codes to improve fire safety. Rack storage height, aisle width and building construction all have codes associated with them to decrease the risk of fire. Then certain placement of fire protection equipment is needed to put out any fires that start despite your efforts to prevent them.
Since arson is such a common cause of Houston area distribution center fires, it’s vital to make building security a top priority. You should also provide fire extinguisher training for each new employee so this fire protection equipment can be useful in their hands.
For all your Houston area distribution center fire protection needs, please contact Kauffman Co. online or call 713-893-1090. As a full-service company, we offer code-compliant equipment installation, maintenance and more to safeguard your building from fire.
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