While fire is a risk for commercial facilities all year round, winter is the worst time for commercial fires. Here are a few of the reasons, and here are a few ways you can prevent commercial fires during the winter season.

Causes of winter commercial fires

Commercial fires have a few main causes, regardless of season, but the risk is enhanced in the winter. These causes include cooking, faulty heating and cooling equipment, electrical problems and frayed wires. These hazards exist year-round, but are particularly salient in the winter, when boilers and heating equipment is often in extensive use, and the dry air makes for flammable conditions. Plus, the colder temperatures result in the use of space heaters, which are dangerous in and of themselves, along with lap blankets and sweaters, which can be a flammable combination.

Even cooking fires can be more likely in the winter in commercial spaces, where office kitchens are being used to prepare food for holiday parties or people are making hot chocolate and coffee to stay warm.

Ways to prevent winter commercial fires

  • Remind employees not to smoke inside and to smoke at least 25 feet away from buildings in designated smoking areas. Colder temperatures may lead smokers to risk smoking inside or close to buildings under overhangs and awnings, but this is extremely dangerous.
  • Ban space heaters in your facilities. Space heaters are responsible for thousands of fires and injuries every year. Consider raising building temperatures, adjusting the dress code, or encouraging employees to use lap blankets or layering to stay warm.
  • Watch electrical cords. Any cords with damage could present a fire risk.
  • Ensure that your fire extinguishers are all functional and in-date.
  • Ensure that your boiler and HVAC system is functioning correctly.
  • Have your fire alarm and suppression systems inspected and tested to ensure that they are working properly.

Winter can be a tough season for commercial fires. Make sure your facility’s fire suppression system is working to keep your employees, your assets, and your building safe, call the Vanguard team for an inspection today!

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