Over the past 30 years, fires in warehouses have declined from 4,700 in 1980 to 1,200 in 2011. This positive decline is largely due to the increased number of fire sprinkler companies across the country and the advances in fire protection services. Despite this marked improvement, approximately 19 people are injured in warehouse fires per year and three people lose their lives per year. Before you start contacting fire sprinkler companies, know the common causes of warehouse fires so that you know what fire sprinkler services you need.
Causes of Warehouse Fires
- Arson: People intentionally setting fires is the most common cause of warehouse fires. This cause also leads to the most destructive fires. Out of all warehouse fires recorded between 2009 and 2013, 18% of them were caused by arson. Sometimes people do it as a simple, petty crime, and other times arson is part of an insurance scam. No matter the reason, arson damages make up 32% of all fire-related property damages.
- Electrical: In the same time period, another 18% of warehouse fires were caused by problems with electrical distribution or lighting equipment. These fires are typically less destructive than those set intentionally, as they make up just 17% of total property damages between 2009 and 2013.
- Heating Equipment: Sometimes, warehouse fires are caused by the very equipment that the building holds. Equipment that reaches high heats caused 8% of warehouse fires and 3% of total property damage.
- Exposure: A fire-fighting term, exposures are combustible materials that are not yet on fire but could be if the fire spreads. Warehouses increase the likelihood of destructive fires when they create exposures by leaving piles of dry wood or reams of paper near heat, flame, or spark sources. Exposure fires made up about 7% of warehouse fires in the recorded fires between 2009 and 2013.
- Smoking Materials: Causing about 5% of warehouse fires are smoking materials, such as cigarettes, cigars, and lighters. Although these small fires sources made up a low percentage of total fires, they account for 11% of the total property damage in the same time frame.
Warehouse Fire Prevention
The most effective way to prevent fires in your warehouse is to consult fire sprinkler companies to have a high-quality system installed. The type of sprinkler system that your warehouse needs is dependent on the materials in the warehouse, the storage method in the warehouse, and how high the storage racks measure. Specific warehouse regulations and the companies you work with can help you sort those out. Having a high-functioning fire alarm and fire extinguisher are also essential in protecting your warehouse from fires.
Once it starts, a fire is incredibly destructive. Prevent it from growing beyond a single flame with an efficient protection system and working against the common causes.