Consider the fire risks in your warehouse

warehouseBy John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

Consider the fire risks in your warehouse

The losses that can be caused by a warehouse fire are significant.  As the shift to larger warehouse storage facilities and distribution centres continues, the fire protection solutions required are becoming more complex.

A major fire can quickly bring a business to a standstill with loss of goods and equipment, building damage, smoke damage and subsequent downtime just some of the outcomes when fires are not quickly contained. With the right solutions in place, the risk of minor mishaps or serious incidents can be averted or reduced. Designing a fire protection system requires expertise in fire behaviour and fire protection – both of which Wormald has developed through decades of experience.

In a warehouse environment, it is often the simple things that are overlooked.  Forklifts and containers blocking fire exits, missing or neglected fire extinguishers, a lack of exit lights, the accumulation of flammable debris, and overloaded electrical outlets are all common hazards that can be easily rectified. Yet fire safety regulations and standards required for a warehouse can be complex and extensive to navigate.  The requirements vary according to the type of stock and equipment kept on site, the configuration of the storage racks and the building structure itself. Specialist fire safety equipment and solutions may also be required on site to help avert fires caused by hazardous chemicals, petroleum or aerosol explosions.

For warehouse managers, the most important consideration is to ensure that all staff are trained and that comprehensive fire protection and emergency evacuation plans are in place. Wormald has the following advice to help warehouse managers keep people and property safe:

  • Have a comprehensive evacuation plan and ensure it is reviewed regularly. Many employees upon hearing a fire alarm will look to their supervisor for direction, however it should be made clear that in a warehouse environment, if anyone hears the fire alarm they should leave the premises immediately through the nearest exit.
  • Conduct regular staff training to ensure all staff know what to do in the event of a fire, can confidently identify fires and follow correct fire safety procedures including emergency shutdown procedures.
  • Warning and exit signs should be clearly visible and fire equipment identified. Flammable materials and liquids should also be clearly marked outlining the type of hazard class (e.g. flammable, explosive, toxic, or combination of flammable, toxic and combustion)
  • Ensure fire safety inspections are kept up to date and that equipment is regularly tested. Wormald recently launched Wormald Connect, an online portal to help warehouse managers keep track of fire safety scheduling and maintenance. Wormald Connect is a free service for all Wormald customers.

Warehouses and storage facilities can be dangerous fire hazard environments. If you are concerned about the fire safety preparedness of your warehouse or storage facility, contact Wormald to arrange for one of our fire safety engineers to visit your premises. We can provide expert advice and help manage every phase of a fire protection project; from consultation, concept design and installation, through to ongoing service and maintenance

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