Fire Prevention Not a Once-a-Year Responsibility

Article courtesy of Federated Insurance

How often do you think about fire prevention? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly? On the off chance you come across an article on the subject?

Unless your answer to that question is “daily,” you have some work to do.

That might sound dramatic, but the US Fire Administration received more than 100,000 reports of nonresidential building fires each year from 2014–20161. In those incidents, about 90 deaths, 1,350 injuries and $2.4 billion in property damage costs were reported. That last figure is about 20% of the total dollar loss from all fires.

Some fires have common causes — cooking, faulty electrical wiring or smoking, for example. But others come from less obvious sources. Here are just a few:

  • Dust and debris piles near heat sources or electrical outlets
  • Oily rags stored in the open or in a container that isn’t sealed
  • Overheated electrical equipment or appliances

While you should review your overall fire safety plan a couple times a year, you should constantly be on the lookout for fire risks. This sounds like a big task, but if you integrate it into your business’s everyday procedures, the time commitment will be minimal. Update your cleaning checklists to include inspection of any new potential hazards you’ve identified. You and your employees will barely notice a change in routine, but your fire risk management strategy will be much more effective.

Also, remind your employees and managers to constantly be on the lookout for anything unusual. Are there any strange noises coming from machines? Any flickering lights? Do vehicles appear to be operating properly?

While it’s true that no matter how diligent you are, a fire is still possible. But if you take proper steps and keep fire prevention at the top of your priority list, you have a better chance of avoiding a catastrophe.

Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 6–12. It’s a great opportunity to remind yourself and your employees of the importance of fire prevention, but it shouldn’t be the only time of year you think about it.

1 FEMA Topical Fire Report Series: Nonresidential Building Fires (2014-2016), July 2018, Accessed August 2019.

This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce, but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. © 2019 Federated Mutual Insurance Company