Posted on September 8, 2014
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Fire Protection for Retail Stores
A fire is one of the most devastating things that can happen to your retail store. Uncontrolled flames can beat even the best fire fighters if you don’t have the necessary fire protection systems in place. Consider the following events reported by the National Fire Protection Agency:
- In April 1996, a fire began where pool chemicals were stored and burned a bulk retail store in Albany, Georgia to the ground, destroying all the merchandise inside. Several deviations from fire code requirements resulted in the $9 million loss.
- In March 1998, an arsonist used a lighter to set lawn furniture seat cushions on fire in a bulk retail store in Tempe, Arizona. Sprinkler heads over 5,000 square feet activated and kept the fire under control until the fire department arrived and subdued the blaze entirely. Fire damage was limited to 1,500 square feet of the store.
- Several years ago, a new retail store suffered major merchandise loss when the sprinklers failed to control a fire. As it turns out, the main water valve was closed and was probably never opened during installation. The unqualified installer was blamed for the mistake.
Fire Hazards in Retail Stores
There are many fire hazards and risks in a typical retail store. When you’re consulting with a professional fire protection company to ensure your space is up to code, be sure to discuss:
- Electrical equipment: Lighting, sound systems, cash registers, refrigeration, and other aspects of your retail store require electrical wiring. Any malfunctions in these areas could cause a fire.
- Flammable products: From the pool chemical example stated above to barbecuing supplies and pesticides to gardening chemicals, you probably sell many different flammable products. These could lead to a fire in the right conditions.
- Vandals: You can’t control the behavior of customers who enter your retail store. Whether on purpose or by accident, someone could set your merchandise on fire, such as in the other example listed above.
Fire Protection Systems for Retail Stores
While these risks exists, up-to-code and properly installed fire protection systems can prevent great damage or loss of life from a fire. Your comprehensive fire protection system should include:
- Fire sprinklers: This is your first defense against a retail store fire. The sprinkler heads disperse water on the flames and keep them from spreading until the fire department arrives and takes full control of the situation. Of course, the fire sprinklers need to be in good working order, as made apparent by the example stated above.
- Fire alarms: Your retail store is much larger than a residence, so fire alarms are important for alerting your customers of the emergency. Keep the system well maintained so you know you can count on getting customers and employees to safety it if a fire ignites.
- Fire alarm monitoring: Without fire alarm monitoring, the blaring sirens and flashing lights indicating a fire are only useful if people are in the building. However, what if a fire ignites in your retail store during the middle of the night? Fire alarm monitoring ensures the local fire department knows about the emergency seconds after the alarm goes off. It’s the best way to ensure help is on the way, even when no one is around to report the fire.
- Fire extinguishers: Distribute fire extinguishers around the store, being sure to place one or two near flammable products or lit candle displays. ABC fire extinguishers are the most versatile because they put out fires caused by flammable liquids, electronic equipment, and burning paper or plastic.
- Fire suppression: The FM-200 fire suppression system is designed to put out flammable liquids and electrical fires without leaving sopping wet or oily merchandise behind. With less damage and lower repair costs after the fire, it’s a preferred fire suppression system for retail stores.
Fire Protection for Retail Stores Located in Houston
The best way to guard against fire in your Houston, Texas retail store is to have fire protection systems professionally installed and maintained. For more information about developing a comprehensive risk mitigation strategy, please contact Kauffman Co.
We provide estimates for new and replacement fire protection systems throughout Texas (TX) in:
- Deer Park
- Galena Park
- Jacinto City
- La Marque
- La Porte
- Lake Charles, LA
- Lake Jackson
- League City
- Missouri City
- Port Arthur
- San Antonio
- South Houston
- Sugar Land
- Texas City
- The Woodlands
For more information, contact us online or call us now at (713) 893-1090.
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