If you've recently purchased a new office building or warehouse for your business, you may still be in the process of retrofitting certain structures and fixtures to better serve your business's aims. During this process, it's important to keep fire safety in mind -- one bare electrical wire or overloaded outlet could spark a flame that may engulf your building if you're not careful. If you're doing anything more than cosmetic work, or if you're dealing with an older building that may have a haphazardly assembled electrical grid, you may benefit from some professional advice and direction during this process. Read on to learn more about some common fire hazards to help you decide whether your business could benefit from a fire protection engineering consultant before opening your new store or warehouse for business.
What are some of the most common sources of business fire?
Residential fires and business fires are quite different--while many residential fires are caused by things like a too-hot space heater, oil spatters from a frying pan, or an unattended candle or cigarette, business fires tend to relate more to faulty electrical equipment and wiring. This is even more true now that almost all states and workplaces have outlawed smoking; previously, cigarettes disposed of in paper-filled trash cans or other improper receptacles were the spark behind many workplace fires.
Other causes of business fires can include sloppy waste disposal (especially in manufacturing facilities where welders and others frequently dispose of heated material) or combustibles like alcohols, oils, and pressurized cans kept too close to sources of heat. In warehouses with large open spaces, fire can spread quickly due to the greater supply of oxygen and the speed with which air flow can carry flames from one side of the building to the other.
When may you need a fire protection engineering consultant?
You may want to enlist the help of a fire protection engineering consultant whenever you're dealing with an older building with a questionable electrical system or a building that has already sustained at least one fire in the past. A fire protection consultant can survey your building and provide you with a report indicating any sources of potential danger or areas in need of improvement. You'll then be able to perform these repairs yourself, change certain policies, or hire an electrical engineer to make some much-needed changes to your wiring system to reduce the risk of fire.