Common fire hazards for offices
There were over 600 primary fires in offices and call centres in the year 2016/17, showing just how important it is to tackle any potential fire hazards in your office. Many people think that a fire won’t happen in their building, but the statistics tell a different story.
Whether you work in an older building or have just moved into a brand new, modern office space, taking the time to assess the hazards posed in your office could prevent unnecessary fire risks and save lives. With this in mind, we’ve collected up some of the most common fire hazards for offices and how you can combat them.
Many fires in homes and offices come from an electrical source, so it’s important to consider the following things:
- Don’t overload extension cables – It’s tempting to make as much use of an extension cable as possible, but make sure you check how much it can handle before plugging too many machines in.
- Replace broken cables – Leaving broken cables strewn around the office is asking for trouble, risking sparks and the outbreak of an electrical fire.
- Keep machines cool – Overheating is another common cause of fires in offices, with equipment generating heat if not properly ventilated. Be sure to turn machines off overnight where possible and allow room for these objects to cool.
- PAT testing – You can protect against electrical faults by getting equipment PAT tested on a regular basis.
Exits & Evacuation
Part of your checks for a fire risk assessment should be to analyse whether, in the event of a fire, staff and visitors can exit the building quickly. Take a look at these areas to ensure you give people the best chance of making a safe exit:
- Don’t block doors – This goes for any doors you have, but especially fire doors. Piling up belongings or stock of any kind makes it difficult to leave in an emergency.
- Keep fire doors closed – Even if it’s to regulate the temperature of the office or simply for ease of access, you should never have your fire doors pinned open. These doors are there to contain fires for as long as possible so that you can escape.
- Clear the route – If you know you have narrow corridors or tricky floorplans to navigate, then ensure you keep these routes free of obstacles. It’s easy to create a bottleneck if you pile stacks of office paper in an already tight space.
While you might think that your office is free from combustibles because there are no oils, gases or open flames, there are still risks present in any commercial building.
- Paper – No doubt you have stacks of paper or cardboard, which is one of the best fuels for any fire to spread with. Make sure you have your rubbish collected regularly and you keep your stacks of fresh material away from heat sources.
- Dust – Known to cause fires where spaces haven’t been properly ventilated, dust can ignite when the apparatus it’s coating gets hot. It’s important to have any office spaces adjoining factories well ventilated with an extractor fan.
- Cleaning liquids – If you have cleaning staff who come in to take care of all the general upkeep in your office you might not be aware of these items. Cleaning liquids can be highly flammable and must be stored correctly to prevent accidents.
Whether it’s your office computers which have you worried, or you need to tidy up your office and evacuation routes, it is better to get to grips with the common fire hazards in your office now. With a fire risk assessment from Elite Fire, you can identify any hazards and ensure they are remedied before the worst happens – our experienced team can even advise on the right extinguishers and alarm system you require.
Contact the Elite Fire team today to discuss your office fire safety needs and we’ll be happy to help.