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Common Office Fire Starting Scenarios and How to Prevent Them

Posted on by DPL Fire & Security

Offices fires can occur at any time, even with all of the appropriate safety checks and precautions in place. Office fires will have the potential to harm staff, destroy documents and equipment, or even harm neighbouring offices or buildings. So here at DPL Fire and Security, we’ll be outlining the most likely places and causes for your office fire to occur and how you can minimise the risks.

fire in a kitchen

In the Kitchen

A large number of offices have a kitchen available. Employees will most likely utilise this space more than others, and so it’s important the kitchen is kept safe and secure. It can be all too easy to leave something unattended, but unfortunately, this has the potential to cause a fire.

How to prevent a fire in the kitchen:

  • Don’t leave food cooking unattended, especially if it involves flames or gas
  • Ensure fire blankets and fire extinguishers have been installed and are easy to access in a hurry
  • Regularly test your fire alarm and conduct fire risk assessments at least once a year. These steps are also required by law, under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

exposed electrical wire

Electrical Fires

Often, electrical fires are the hardest to spot. This is because the average worker won’t be qualified to notice or fix faulty electrical equipment. Overloaded plug sockets, faulty equipment and damaged wires are all considered to be fire hazards. As well has having the ability to start a fire, electrical problems would also have the potential to electrocute an employee.

How to prevent an electrical fire:

  • Conduct basic and regular checks of all wiring, even if a professional needs to be called in
  • Keep an eye out for overloaded plug sockets
  • Replace wires that are in a poor condition
  • Have any faulty electrical equipment repaired or replaced

using CO2 to extinguish a fire

Mini Heaters

These are small, electric heaters than can easily be plugged in to sit either on top of or under a desk. These could cause a fire if used without the correct level of care and attention. Small desktop heaters (especially) can be easily left near vulnerable or flammable objects, which when left there, could easily ignite over time.

How to prevent a mini heater from causing a fire:

  • Set them up strategically. Keep them away from flammable objects, paper, cardboard and over electrical items
  • Ensure they’re PAT tested
  • Remember to turn them off, set a reminder on your phone or computer as a prompt
  • Switch them off at the plug, if possible

fire sprinkler system

Smoking

Over a third of fire deaths that occured on commercial premises were caused by cigarette lighters or smokers’ materials. Even well-stubbed cigarettes have the potential to reignite if the conditions are suitable. This is most likely to occur in hot, dry weather and a slight breeze. Even a cigarette disposal unit can easily catch fire, it wouldn’t take much for a negligent worker to throw a (still) slightly lit cigarette into it and it’ll catch fire as easily as a match to kindling.

How to prevent a smoking fire:

  • Erect signs that encourage employees to completely stub out their cigarettes
  • Put a bucket of sand or water nearby as an extinguishing aid
  • Regularly check and empty cigarette bins

Here at DPL Fire and Security, we’re committed to ensuring the safety of our customers, keeping them safe from fires, vandals and intruders. We supply, install and maintain fire safety devices, as well as offering fire risk assessment services, which can be carried out on your behalf. Contact us today for more information about the products we sell and the services we offer – we’re always happy to help.

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