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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Top 3 Causes of Fires in Commercial Buildings and Tips to Prevent Them

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

1. Cooking/Kitchen Appliances

Cooking remains at the top of the list as a cause of non-residential fires at 25% to 30%. The fires sometimes started because of human error while cooking and sometimes by an appliance malfunctioning.

Because kitchens are an extremely high-risk zone, strong effort should be taken to ensure full protection and prevention. Sprinklers, alarms and easily accessible fire extinguishers are an absolute must.

2. Arson/Intentional

Arson, or an intentional fire, is the next common cause of a non-residential fire, with roughly 10% of fires occurring from arson.  Intentional fires are most likely to occur after working hours, between 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.  An arsonist may start a fire anywhere, but bathrooms, trash cans, dumpsters and garages are likely spots.

While you can’t prevent arson completely, you can take precautions to limit the damage and opportunities:

  • Make sure trash cans are emptied every day.
  • If possible, keep dumpsters away from the building so a dumpster fire can’t spread to the building.
  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed to make them harder to set on fire and so arsonists can’t use them for cover while setting a fire.
  • Put up motion detection cameras or lights in dark or normally unused areas so any fires can be caught and put out faster.
  • Install smoke/fire curtains near the doorways of the areas most likely to be used for arson.

3. Human Error

Human error, or unintentional fires, are also responsible for about 10% of fires. Because there are a vast number of reasons why a fire might occur accidentally, employee fire safety training is extremely important.

Some examples of an unintentional fire include cigarettes being improperly discarded, employees leaving heating equipment too close to walls or flammable surfaces, candles, and improper use of electrical cords.

Source: Smoke Guard Online. 2017-2016 Data

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