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Warehouse Fire Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Warehouses can be serious fire hazards due to their size as well as the large number of possibly flammable materials stored within. The aftereffects may be numerous, not just the loss of storage space and product, but the overall and far reaching consequences of disruption in company operation as well as the displacement, either permanent or temporary, of workers and other warehouse staff. The good news is that most warehouse fires can be avoided or at least minimized with a little judicious pre-planning and proper education.
Your local fire department can assist the company with undertaking a risk assessment, which determines the level of the fire threat. Appropriate countermeasures can then be instated to mitigate any fire that may occur on the warehouse property.
Any facility should have a fire safety plan in place, with one person in charge and everybody else knowing their part in that plan as well as how to properly execute it. This includes making sure that the warehouse is properly equipped with smoke and fire alarms, fire suppression systems (some facilities use sprinklers, but foam suppression material is becoming increasingly popular. All exits should be clearly marked, and inventory arranged in such a manner that it does not impede access to these exits.
The person in charge, preferably somebody in a management position, should see to it that all protocols are in place and followed to the letter, as well as making sure that all alarm systems are working properly and that fire extinguishing gear is kept properly inspected, up to date, and in good working order.
All employees should be trained on proper use of alarms and fire extinguisher equipment, as well as the proper protocols when dialing 911. Many employees do not know the address of the building they work in. In addition, proper trash removal and storage should be a priority, since not many things help aggravate a fire like clutter.
One of the biggest losses to any company in the event of a fire is the destruction of vital records, invoices, orders, etc. A plan should be put in place to protect these files, preferably an offsite backup service. This will allow business to continue even if the warehouse’s administrative offices are completely destroyed.
Communication with the fire department is also important. Let them know what types of materials are stored in the warehouse, if they pose any particular or unique dangers in the event of a fire. Have someone on every shift serve as a liaison with the local fire department, somebody who can be the communication point in the event of a fire problem.
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