Even thinking about a warehouse fire can be scary and daunting.
That’s why there are fire safety codes and standards set in place for your warehouse to follow. There’s no doubt these codes and standards automatically increase safety. It won’t matter if you have the smallest or largest warehouse in existence, the minimum codes will protect your warehouse in the event of a fire.
While it’s important to follow these codes on a daily basis to make sure you’re covered, it’s also important to take things a few steps further to decrease the damages that a fire can cause for your business.
The Do’s of Fire Safety for Your Warehouse
1. Follow Fire Codes & OSHA Standards
Following the codes set by your state and OSHA may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies don’t follow these standards. By following the policies, even as they change, you will keep your warehouse safer and also keep your company from being fined in the event of a visit.
2. Use a Sprinkler System
Generally, an in-ceiling sprinkler system will suffice for keeping a fire from spreading and getting out of control. However, if your pallet racks are filled with hazardous or extremely flammable products, you might want to consider installing an in-rack system for extra protection.
3. Have a Plan & Provide Training
In the event of an emergency, it’s always best to have a well laid out plan for how to react. Additionally, you should train all employees who use the warehouse on that plan, so they know exactly what to do in each type of situation.
It’s also a good idea to train on the use of fire extinguishers and exit plans. If a fire does get out of control, these plans will allow your employees to react in the safest ways.
The Don’ts of Fire Safety for Your Warehouse
1. Incorrectly Space Racked Pallets
You don’t want to have the pallets on your pallet rack spaced incorrectly, as this will hinder your sprinkler system from doing its job. The spacing requirements include 1.5 to 2 feet of space between top rack palleted items and the sprinkler system, 3 inch gaps between side-by-side items, and 6 inch gaps between back-to-back items.
2. Smoke in the Warehouse
If smoking isn’t already prohibited in your warehouse, it should be. By making sure this is enforced and having plenty of ‘no smoking’ signs displayed throughout the warehouse, you’ll be able to cut down the likelihood of a fire happening in the first place.
3. Leave Trash and Debris
Don’t leave trash and debris in the aisles or amongst the racks. Paper and other garbage-related items are basically fuel for fires. If you don’t want a fire to spread quickly, it’s best to keep your racks and aisles clean.
What do you do to keep your warehouse safe from fire hazards? What processes would you recommend other businesses put in place to avoid fires?