As the manager or owner of a Houston warehouse, you have the responsibility to ensure your structure, equipment and any people inside are protected from fire. Each year between 2007 and 2011, the National Fire Protection Association reports that an average of 1,270 warehouse fires broke out, killing four civilians, injuring 23 others and causing $188 million in property damage per year.
The most likely cause of warehouse fires is arson, followed by electrical and heating equipment malfunctions, accidents with torches and soldering irons, smoking materials, and cooking equipment. You can protect against fires, no matter their cause, if you implement a variety of fire safety standards and protocols to protect your Houston warehouse and the employees and merchandise inside.
Installing and maintaining a functional fire sprinkler system is the single best way to protect your warehouse from fire. If you have a unique situation where water isn’t the best method for extinguishing fires in your warehouse, a fire suppression system is the preferred alternative. Still, not all sprinklers and suppression systems are created equal.
That’s why warehouse owners should turn to a professional fire protection company to design and install sprinklers and suppression systems. Deluge style automatic fire sprinklers and foam suppression systems tend to work well in warehouse settings. These solutions deliver the high volume needed to extinguish fires that break out within tightly packed pallets, shelves, racks and bulk storage.
Along with putting out the fire quickly, it’s also important to ensure any warehouse occupants evacuate in a timely manner. Because warehouses can be large, noisy spaces, fire alarms are vital to ensure everyone in the building is alerted if a fire starts. The strategic placement of strobe lights and sirens can literally mean the difference between life and death. A fire protection company can design, install and maintain your fire alarm to ensure functionality when and where you need it most.
While automatic systems are useful in putting out a fire, sometimes a person’s ability to act fast against a small fire is the best way to prevent widespread damage. That’s why you need fire extinguishers in your warehouse.
Depending on the hazard level and probability of fire, you should place a fire extinguisher every 30 to 50 feet of travel distance. A fire protection company can help you choose the right extinguishers and ensure code-compliant installation.
Fire safety codes vary by state and local jurisdiction. For adequate fire safety – and to prevent fines and citations – make sure you follow codes for storing and stocking merchandise, ensuring employee safety, and installing adequate fire protection systems. If you’re not familiar with Houston fire codes, check with the local fire chief or team up with a fire protection company with the knowledge and experience to ensure your compliance.
Beyond meeting minimum requirements for fire safety, you can further protect your building from fire by creating an evacuation plan and training your employees to use fire extinguishers. You should also keep your warehouse free of combustible trash and clutter, and tape off storage areas to make code-compliant aisle spacing enforcement easier.
In the end, working with a Houston fire protection company is the best way to prevent your building from being listed among the thousands of warehouse fires that occur each year. To learn more, or to schedule fire protection services from a true professional, please contact Kauffman Co. online or call us at 713-893-1090 today.
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