When it comes to protecting your home or business from fire, different environments have different fire hazards associated with them, which will present different fire protection challenges.
All businesses should be aware of the level of risk that fire poses to them, so that they can adequately protect themselves against the threat of fire. Risk assessments play a crucial part in determining how at risk a particular environment is from fire.
But what are the environments or places that are most of risk of fire?
According to an IFSEC study, the following environments were found to have the biggest potential risk of a fire breaking out. We take a look at these areas and how to mitigate the fire risk.
Restaurants and Takeaways
Restaurants and takeaways came top on the list, which is not at all surprising when you think about the number of potential fire risks associated with them. Kitchen environments typically have an abundance of ignition materials, combined with naked flames and ovens. The fast paced nature of many restaurant kitchens also makes accidents more likely to occur due to basic human error.
Obviously restaurants in particular need to find ways of reducing the fire threat, as a busy restaurant filled with guests has the potential for a disaster waiting to happen. The fire risk in restaurant kitchens can be reduced by diligently following fire safety procedures and ensuring staff are trained in fire prevention. Basic measures, such as ensuring cooking oil is stored away from sources of heat and ignition also need to be put in place for safety.
If a fire does break out, having the appropriate fire extinguisher on site to put out a Class F fire is vital to tackle the fire early on before it gets out of control. All commercial kitchens should have wet chemical fire extinguishers installed, as these are specially designed to extinguish cooking oil and kitchen related fires.
Houses/Flats with Multiple Occupants and Rental Properties
Houses with multiple occupants such as rental properties, flats and complexes are another environment with a high fire threat. With more people living in a space, the potential fire risk increases. Each person may have their own electrical equipment and shared equipment may be less likely to be checked, as no single occupant is responsible for replacing damaged appliances and faulty wiring etc.
In terms of layout, multiple occupant properties are often more complex, making escape more difficult. For example there may be a single stairwell, which is the main evacuation route for all occupants. In the event of a fire, panic may ensue, so evacuation procedures need to be carefully managed to ensure everyone knows how to get out of the building safely and without worry.
It’s crucial for landlords/owners to provide guidance on fire safety in the property and ensure fire escapes are clearly marked with appropriate signage. Fire alarms should also be installed in each separate dwelling, communal areas and on every level to alert occupants to danger, giving them maximum time possible for escape.
Bars and Nightclubs
Another unsurprising inclusion on the list is bars and nightclubs. These places can often host a large volume of people in a relatively small space, which presents a big danger if a fire were to break out. Bars are particularly at risk from fire because alcohol is a highly flammable substance and having a large quantity of this stored on the premises obviously increases the fire threat.
Smoking is also another common cause of fire and although in the UK it is illegal to smoke inside bars, cigarettes can still potentially start fires if not disposed of properly and if not the no smoking policy is not strictly enforced so people only smoke in designated areas.
Emergency evacuation plans are crucial for bars and nightclubs. Bar staff should be well trained in fire safety procedures and what to do if a fire breaks out. Sadly there have been several high profile cases where fires in bars and nightclubs have resulted in loss of life, such as the 2013 fire in a Brazilian nightclub, in which 240 died as there were insufficient fire safety measures put in the place.
Why fire risk assessments are important
The best way to find out how you can protect your home or business from fire is to seek professional advice. Most fire protection companies will offer to do a risk assessment of your premises to identify fire hazards and recommend measures to reduce the fire threat. Regardless of the fire protection challenges your environment presents, safety must always be your top priority.
More information on reducing fire threat
Get a complete fire risk assessment of your premises today from Euro Fire Protection. We also provide a wide range of fire detection and protection equipment. Call us today on 08000 515 199.Tags: fire protection, fire risk assessments, fire safety, reduce fire risk, top fire threats