There is much that can go wrong in a warehouse, from pallet rack collapses to vehicle-related incidents. But among these issues, there is one common hazard that can always pose a significant threat to your inventory and, more importantly, your workers: the outbreak of a fire.
The initial spark that ignites a fire doesn’t have to be large, and fires can spread quickly before any worker realizes it; both of these factors make the potential damage of fires a top concern among warehouse administration. But knowing the best fire prevention measures in warehouses can help you circumvent the dangers and put managers and workers at ease.
Identify Risk Hazards
Always know what is coming into your facility and what happens inside your building. Be aware if any pieces of inventory you receive run the risk of flammability. Also, stay informed about which chemical items, if you deal in such things, react violently with other chemicals or stimuli. Implementing proper containment measures can eliminate the possibility of two items interacting to create an explosion or trigger an ignition.
Of the common causes of fires, space heaters are often the culprit. Large storage facilities can be hard to adequately heat, resulting in workers bringing their own heaters. To prevent fire, you must control the number of heaters or ban them entirely.
Install and regularly test your alert system to ensure that everything is in working order and will provide proper warning in the event of a fire. Inspect sprinkler systems to guarantee that they will go off and provide the necessary water pressure to extinguish flames.
Often overlooked, the importance of flue space is something every worker on the floor should know. Without it, flames may go undetected by your alert systems, allowing them to spread out of control without any means of mitigating disaster.
Mandatory Employee Training
Whether it is training on the dangers of individual heaters, faulty wiring, or the essential nature of flue space, you must instruct all your employees on the procedures and expectations whenever they work in the facility. Everyone must go through this training, and it is the job of management to administer this education as well as any future updates or corrections.
Implement an Evacuation Strategy
There may come a time when, despite your warehouse fire prevention measures, a fire grows out of control. If this happens, you must ensure all employees know what to do to escape safely. Have clearly labeled fire escapes in place and routinely practice fire drills. If a fire breaks out and employees panic, that in and of itself can cause injuries and fatalities. The act of exiting a warehouse on fire must be habitual to them to reduce the likelihood of panic.