Any workplace must take special care when it comes to fire safety, but fires in industrial and manufacturing environments can be especially devastating. During 2011-2015, according to the NFPA, there were an estimated 37,910 fires in industrial or manufacturing properties.

While this number includes fires in utility, defense, agriculture and mining environments, it’s important to know that the most damaging fires took place in structures, and 65% of those structure fires occurred specifically in manufacturing properties. 

These numbers from the NFPA serve to highlight the importance of fire safety in manufacturing and industrial facilities. Not only are these buildings at a heightened risk for fire, but the fires that do occur in these buildings are particularly damaging. 

It’s good to know that with the right tools, technology, and training, manufacturing and industrial fires can be prevented. Let’s take a look at 4 fire safety tips you can use to protect your manufacturing or industrial facility.

01. Install & Maintain Your Commercial Fire Protection System

Your manufacturing facility’s first defense against any fire is your fire protection system. From fire detection to suppression, your building has an entire system that is designed to protect your facility and everything — and everyone — in it from fire. 

If you’re building a new manufacturing facility, it’s important that you work with an experienced fire protection solutions provider who can design a fire protection solution specific to your building and the hazards present within it.

If your fire protection system is already installed, make sure you’re on a regular testing and maintenance schedule with your provider. Again, your fire detection and suppression system is your first and best defense against industrial and manufacturing fires. If it’s not well-maintained, you’re putting your people and your profits at risk.

02. Have a Fire Evacuation Plan For Your Manufacturing Facility

While it’s always important to prevent fires in manufacturing facilities first, it’s also essential that in the event of a fire, your employees know how to respond safely. Every manufacturing and industrial facility should create a comprehensive fire evacuation plan. This plan should let your employees know exactly how to leave the building safely in a fire. Once complete, make sure your evacuation plan is clearly communicated to all employees. Many facilities opt to display evacuation plan maps directly on facility walls, so employees always know how to exit safely in the event of a fire. 

Not sure where to start with your manufacturing facility’s evacuation plan? This blog: Six Steps to Develop a Fire Evacuation Plan can help. 

03. Consider Special Hazard Fire Systems for Heavy Machinery and Equipment

Large vehicles and heavy machinery are one of the top causes of manufacturing and industrial fires in the US. Many of these fires can be prevented with the implementation of special hazard fire protection systems.

These fire systems are uniquely designed to protect high-value and high-risk equipment like large agricultural vehicles, CNC machines, cutters, grinders, lathes, and more. Because these machines often work in or create high-temperature environments, and because they make use of highly flammable oil-based lubricants and coolants, fires can start easily and quickly expand throughout your facility. 

For this reason, many manufacturing and industrial companies implement special hazard fire detection and suppression systems that can help minimize fire-related damage in these facilities. Capable of detecting and stopping a machine fire in seconds, these special hazard solutions can help protect expensive machinery, while also preventing fires from spreading throughout your facility, protecting both people and property. 

04. Ensure Employees Have Adequate Fire Prevention & Response Training

Industrial and manufacturing plants are at a higher risk for fire. 

From the high-heat operations to the flammable materials used, manufacturing plants present a greater fire risk than many other workplaces. Manufacturing facilities should take extra care to ensure employees have adequate fire prevention and response training.

Fire Safety Training

Fire safety training works to educate your employees of the fire hazards present in your workplace, and how best to avoid them. From hot work training to lockout tagout, there are a number of fire safety training courses that can help give your employees the tools they need to stay safe at work and prevent fires. 

Fire Extinguisher Training

When it comes to fire response training, your employees should understand your evacuation plan, but they should also have hands-on fire extinguisher training. Many manufacturing facilities are required to provide hands-on fire extinguisher training at least annually. That’s because trained fire extinguisher operators are shown to use a fire extinguisher with 4x more accuracy and capacity than a novice operator.

When your employees encounter a fire in the workplace, having that training is essential to protecting their lives, along with everything else in your manufacturing facility.  

Fire safety is essential to the productive, efficient operation of your manufacturing facility. Because industrial and manufacturing facilities work every day in such high-risk environments, it’s important to make sure your machinery, your products, and your people are as protected as possible. That starts with great technology and ends with great training. 

If you’re not sure where to turn for fire safety in your manufacturing facility, Vanguard Fire & Security Systems can help. From designing a fire suppression system that protects your facility to implementing special hazard systems to offering the hands-on fire extinguisher training your team needs, we’re here to help your facility stay safe. Give us a call at 800-444-8719 for more information or contact us online to schedule your next appointment.

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