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Fire Hazards in Office Buildings

Only You Can Prevent Office Fires

Only You Can Prevent Office Fires

According to data from the National Fire Protection Agency, there were 112,000 non-residential structure fires in 2008 which resulted in 120 deaths and $3.8 billion in property damages.  High-rise buildings are especially at risk as fires can spread rapidly and higher floors are often out of reach of most firefighting aerial equipment.

Building owners should work closely with tenants and discuss potential fire hazards to prevent loss of property or life. Tenants should understand the potential losses of sensitive data or documents that can be destroyed so they should be more apt to listen.

Reducing the incidence of fire in buildings can be accomplished by identifying contributing factors and minimizing risks. Come to think of it, that’s the way to handle any type of risk!

Space heaters:

  • Often kept in enclosed spaces near papers, space heaters can lead to fast-moving fires
  • Space heaters use a high amount of electricity and multiple users can increase utility bills
  • Older space heaters don’t have auto shutoff safety can start fires if tipped over

Office Equipment and Appliances:

  • Coffee makers, copiers and computers all need space around them for air circulation
  • Papers should not be stacked on or around equipment
  • Restrict use of hotplates and other portable heating items

Wiring and Power:

  • Older wiring that is mixed with newer wiring can lead to sparking which can turn into fire
  • Buildings that do not keep current with electrical code standards are at risk
  • Overuse of extension cords and power strips has greatly expanded as offices have more and more electronic devices. Overloaded circuits or power cords routed under combustible carpets can both be fire risks

Combustible materials:

  • Modern offices typically have many combustible materials such as file folders, wooden partitions, upholstered furniture, carpeted floors, and wooden doors
  • Combustibles can be decreased by choosing metal furniture, installing fire-rated doors, and moving towards paperless record keeping

Smoking:

Don’t forget about cigarettes and cigars! A leading cause of fires is recreational smoking. Even when buildings restrict smoking inside buildings, some tenants may fail to comply. The best way to combat this is to enforce strict no-smoking policies and provide safe alternative outdoor smoking areas. Outside ash containers should be heavy so they don’t tip over. And care should be taken to ensure safe disposal of ash and cigarette butts.

Fire risks can be greatly decreased by establishing and enforcing set policies for all of your tenants. The Allied Universal Training System can help you mitigate these and other safety risks. Visit www.rjwestmore.com and ask us about the recently released Version 2.0 of our award-winning training program. Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training!

Most importantly, IT SAVES LIVES!

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