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Warehouse Fire Safety Tips

Over 5,000 warehouses and other storage and distribution facilities exist throughout Michigan. While local fire companies and building code enforcers play a role in warehouse fire safety, it’s the responsibility of owners and managers of these structures to ensure they’re built and maintained per applicable fire codes and regulations. 

Fire Systems of Michigan installs, inspects, repairs, and monitors fire protection systems, including fire alarms, sprinklers, extinguishers, and exit and emergency lighting.

Can our fire safety specialists help your business?

Special Considerations of Warehouse Fires

Like most commercial or industrial fires, warehouse fires can cause significant damage, including loss of life and business interruption or shutdown. However, warehouse fires are unique in several ways, including:

  • Size: Warehouses are typically large and open, meaning a fire can spread quickly.
  • Fuel loads: Many warehouses have materials like chemicals and large volumes of paper products that can increase a fire’s intensity and duration.
  • Fewer entry and exit points: Some warehouses only have one or two access points. That can make it challenging for firefighters to get in and extinguish a fire.
  • Limited ventilation: Some older warehouses have minimal ventilation. If smoke and toxic fumes intensify during a fire and can’t escape, it could take longer for firefighters to enter the building.
  • Structural integrity: Temporary warehouses aren’t always as structurally sound as other warehouses, which increases the risk of collapse.

Factors that affect a warehouse fire’s severity include the structure’s size, the type of goods or materials stored, and the presence of hazardous materials.

Warehouse Fire Safety Tips

Warehouse owners, managers, and safety engineers must follow local NFPA and OSHA requirements when minimizing the fire risks at their facility. These codes can be extensive and complex, so a fire safety plan is critical to protecting people and other assets. Know your hazards as well as the space in your warehouse and train your employees to be aware of the fire equipment.

A good warehouse fire safety plan should include:

  • Risk assessment: Conduct a walk-through of the building to identify fire hazards and risks like electrical equipment and flammable materials.
  • Fire prevention policies: Regular equipment maintenance, proper storage of flammable materials, and a no-smoking rule will effectively reduce warehouse fire risks.
  • Employee training: All employees should be knowledgeable and trained in the company’s fire safety program. Monthly or quarterly reviews ensure everyone’s up-to-date on current regulations, fire safety equipment operation, and emergency procedures.
  • Emergency procedures: Develop an emergency response plan that covers fire alarm procedures, evacuation routes, and emergency contacts.
  • Designate storage and staging areas: Consider using tape to mark storage and staging areas, which will make it much easier for employees to adhere to aisle space rules.

It’s also critical to install mandated fire protection equipment, including:

  • Fire sprinklers: The NFPA found that when sprinklers were present in a building or facility, they performed as expected in 92% of all reported fires. And the average loss per fire was over 70% lower than when sprinklers weren’t installed. For ultimate safety, ensure nothing is stored higher than 18 inches below sprinkler head deflectors.
  • Fire extinguishers: These devices are a terrific first line of defense against sudden fires.
  • Fire alarms & fire alarm monitoring: These systems ensure your warehouse’s fire safety requirements are met.

These systems should be tailored to your warehouse’s specific needs and regularly inspected, tested, and maintained. One of the qualified fire safety experts at Fire Systems of Michigan can guide you through the steps you should take to fully protect your building, including maintaining flue space and keeping aisles unobstructed.

Why Choose Fire Systems of Michigan?

Keeping your Southeast Michigan warehouse fully protected against fire typically requires going beyond fire code minimum standards. For over 40 years, Fire Systems of Michigan has helped warehouse owners and managers ensure their buildings have all the required safeguards in place. 

Call 313-255-0053 to learn more about all our fire safety services.

Category: Fire Protection