Fire and smoke damage is a year-round problem for your commercial buildings, but the colder months pose their own unique dangers. As temperatures drop, the risk of fire increases, making it more important than ever to be aware of the potential risks, how to handle issues if they arise, and steps to take to reduce them. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the dangers of commercial fire and smoke damage in winter and what you can do to protect your business.
1. The Risk of Fire & Smoke Increases in Winter
As the temperature outside drops, the risk of fire inside commercial buildings goes up. The main reason for this is that people are using heating devices, faulty wiring, and cooking equipment, which increases the chances of a fire starting. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment, such as space heaters, is responsible for almost half of all office fires.
In addition to an increased risk of fire, winter also brings with it an increased risk of smoke damage. This is because smoke from a fire can quickly fill a room or building when the doors and windows are closed to keep out the cold. When inhaled, smoke can cause a number of respiratory problems, including bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also irritate your eyes, throat, and skin. If you are exposed to smoke, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Once again, according to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke detectors should be installed on every level of a commercial building, including basements and attics. Heat sensors and sprinkler systems are also good tools to help prevent the spread of fires.
Another danger of commercial fires in winter is water damage from firefighting efforts. While water is an essential tool for putting out fires, it can also cause extensive damage to a building if not properly contained. In winter, this problem is compounded by freezing temperatures, which can cause pipes to burst and floors to become slippery and treacherous.
2. What to Do When You Have a Fire
If a fire does occur in your commercial building this winter, call 9-1-1 Immediately! This should be everyones first step in addressing any type of fire emergency. You need to make the call and get the fire trucks responding as soon as possible.
When you have a large fire at your building, you can expect there to be sufficient damage to the structure and the contents within. You need to contact a professional restoration company such as Peerless, that specializes in commercial fire and smoke damage restoration. With 24/7/365 emergency response, Peerless will partner with you throughout the process to restore you property and its contents back to it’s pre-damaged condition.
If you experience water damage from fire fighters or your sprinkler system, Peerless also specializes in commercial water damage restoration. Often when a fire is extinguished with water, secondary damages can easily occur. Peerless is here for all your commercial restoration needs.
Don’t forget to contact your insurance company and notify them of the damage. They will help you assess the damage and begin the claim process.
3. How to Help Prevent Fires in your Building
There are many things you can do to help prevent fires from happening or to minimize the damage that occurs. Of course, you will want to make sure your building or facility is up to code with the proper smoke alarms, heat sensors, sprinkler systems, and strategically placed fire extinguishers.
Make sure you are conducting regular fire safety training with your employees. These training can include what to do when a fire occurs and how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Don’t forget to run fire drills throughout the year to make sure everyone knows where to go in the event of a fire.
Keep sensitive materials separated. Flammable materials such as paper products and cleaning chemicals should never be located near heat sources such as space heaters, candles, and smoking areas.
Double check your building’s heating and electrical systems are up to code and functioning properly. Heating systems should be inspected regularly and serviced by a professional each year before turning it on for the winter. Make sure to address any electrical issues you experience throughout the year and that all cords are plugged in properly and not overloading circuits.
Develop a disaster recovery plan for your facility. A plan like this includes information about your business, your facility, your insurance policies, and important contacts such as first responders, IT professionals, restoration contractors, and more. If you are unfamiliar with disaster recovery plans, contact a Peerless representative and we can help you through the process.
Fires are never fun, but they can be especially devastating during the winter months. Taking steps to prevent fire and smoke damage should be a priority for all businesses this winter. By being aware of the risks, knowing what do when they occur, and how you can help prevent damages, you can help keep your property safe from potential damages. With preventative planning and quick thinking, you can sleep at night knowing your business will be taken care of.