Help & Advice
Protecting your property from the risk of fire is your responsibility as the building owner or employer, but in order to do that, you need to know what items present a fire hazard. As we’ve covered extensively in our previous articles, the impact of a fire on your business can be devastating, so you should be doing everything you can to keep informed of any fire hazards that could be on your premises, and taking every necessary step to reduce them.
Most offices will have flammable items present in some form – this is unavoidable, but knowing what these items are and how to protect your employees and the building will prepare you for the worst. Our team at Target Fire have listed 10 of the most flammable items that you may have in the office, and how to correctly contain them.
Aerosols are one of the most flammable everyday items due to the propane or butane used as a propellant. Many workplaces will have aerosol cans present in the form of cleaning sprays, or even deodorant in the bathrooms. The can could explode if overheated or exposed to sunlight, so keeping any aerosol cans in your workplace in a secure, ventilated area is best.
Drain cleaners and disinfectants all contain chemicals that can be combustible if not stored correctly. If you have cleaning products stored on your premises, never allow these liquids to come into contact with an ignition source, and be sure to store them the right way up with lids screwed on, in a locked ventilated cupboard.
All cooking oils are extremely flammable when they reach a certain temperature, and if in contact with a spark of fire, can be very dangerous. Whether you have a small kitchen for employees to use, or own a property with large kitchens, food cooking in oil should be supervised at all times, with the proper fire equipment in place for emergencies.
Gasoline causes an average of 8,000 house fires every year, due to improper storage. If you have gasoline on your premises, make sure it is stored at ground level and away from any heat sources. Gasoline and petrol can also give off vapours that can easily catch fire if not handled correctly, so sources of ignition should never come into close vicinity to gas tanks.
When an item is used to warm things around it up, it has the serious risk of overheating and causing a fire. To keep heaters from harm’s way, make sure they are cleaned and serviced regularly, and are kept away from any other flammable materials such as dry combustibles or chemicals.
Moth balls are small balls of chemical pesticide and deodorant used to deter mould, moths, and rodents. Consisting primarily of naphthalene, moth balls are deemed as extremely flammable. Although these are more commonly found in the home than in the workplace, it’s essential that extra care is taken when in their vicinity.
A damaged power cord can spark and cause a fire to spread within seconds. All electronic equipment should be serviced and maintained regularly, with any damaged power cords replaced immediately to ensure the safety of everyone in the surrounding area.
One of the biggest causes of fire to spread is the improper storage of dry, combustible waste such as paper and cardboard. Many offices and busy workplaces have an abundance of these dry goods that are not stored correctly, and therefore act as a fuel for any fire that breaks out, quickly accelerating the problem.
Soft furnishings such as sofas are more common in offices where a more relaxed atmosphere is favoured. The fabrics that upholster this furniture is often flammable, which in the event of a fire can burn rapidly and pose a risk to anyone nearby. To ensure your office is safe, make sure any soft furnishings you put in your office are compliant with legislation on fire resistant materials, and that you have the appropriate fire extinguishers nearby in the case of a fire
Polystyrene is classified as a ‘B3’ product, meaning highly flammable. It is prohibited from being used as insulation, or in any exposed installations in building construction, but is popularly used as packaging protection. If you have styrofoam in the workplace, make sure it is stored and disposed of in the proper and safe way. Be mindful when disposing of this material that you are not leaving it out in the open and therefore vulnerable to arsonists.
Target Fire Protection provides a complete fire protection service for commercial properties in the North West region and the rest of the UK. We supply and service fire extinguishers and alarms, and provide specialist fire safety courses and risk assessments to ensure the complete safety of your premises.
To find out more, or to discuss how we may be of assistance to your company, simply contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.
For free, impartial advice, call our expert team: 0800 030 6079