Fire risks in warehouses cover much of the same concerns as industrial building fire risks except for the fact that warehouses often have a much higher possibility of potential fuel lying around. Warehouses currently are often larger than 10 football fields and store items on racks up to 100 feet tall. That is an enormous amount of potential fuel for an accidental warehouse fire. Because of this, warehouse fires are often extremely hard to put out. This is why fire risk assessments are absolutely needed when surveying a building for fire hazards.
In comparison to industrial fires, warehouse fires oftentimes have a lower than average injury and death rate. However, there is almost always more monetary loss involving property and finished products when these fires occur. There has been a decline in warehouse fires since 1980 when there were as many as 4,700 fires, whereas now there are a recorded 1,210 warehouse fires a year. This has demonstrated that people have been getting better at identifying fire risks and removing them accordingly.
Warehouse Fire Hazards
There are quite a few dangers specific to warehouses when it comes to fire risks. Each danger also has its own level of frequency as well. They are as follows:
- Intentionally set fires
- 18% (roughly 1/5th) warehouse fires were ignited intentionally and accounted for 32% of property loss overall. Insurance fraud is thought to be the main catalyst for this unfortunate occurrence.
- Electrical problems with distribution and lighting equipment
- 18% of warehouse fires were caused by electrical wiring problems. This resulted in 17% directly related to property damage.
- Heating equipment
- 8% of warehouse fires are caused by any sort of heating equipment being used in the facility. 3% of damage to property is attributed to this kind of fire risk.
- Exposure fire
- Exposure refers to any sort of combustible material that is not on fire yet but could be if the fire spread. This accounts for only 7% of fires that were started in warehouses with about the same percentage in property loss.
- Smoking materials
- 5% of fires in this category were started by things like cigarettes, cigars, and their lighters. Overall these fires accounted for 11% of property loss.
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