Data Regarding Workplace Fires

When it comes to fires, what we know from the available data is that most fires that occur are home fires. That shouldn't really be a shocking statistic. Next in line for the majority of fire occurrences is at the workplace. This really isn't too surprising either. These are the places where most people are throughout a 24-hour period - work or home - and when you have humans, you have human error. Most people don't think a fire will happen when they get up for work each day, yet for some, that will be a reality. Being aware of some of the information surrounding workplace fires can go a long way in preventing them.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a great resource for all kinds of information relating to fires. They published a report that identified and examined workplace fires that occurred from 2007-2011. By looking at these trends, it can help make all of our businesses and workplaces safer.

For the period of time that the study covered, there were about 3,330 instances of fires that happened in the workplace or office. On average, there was $122 million in property damage every year. Along with physical business assets, there was human loss as well - 4 deaths on average and 44 injuries.

While any kind of loss is never good, period, the good news is that we are trending in the right direction. Over the past 30 years, since 1980, there has been about a 70% decrease in workplace fires - from about 10,000 to 3,300 yearly! That is significant progress in fire safety.

It's also interesting to note the timing of the fires. More fires occurred during the week rather than on a weekend. Of course, we can conclude why: more people on-site during the week, more chance for human error. To be more precise, the highest occurrence of fire was between 12 pm - 2 pm. And the cause? Cooking. Therefore, it's logical to conclude that issues with preparing food for lunch were likely the primary causes.

An interesting contrast to these statistics, however, is that most of the damage from fires occurred over the weekend or overnight (7 pm - 7 am), not during the week when most of the fires occurred. This is likely due to the fact that there were fewer people on-site during those hours to respond to the fire and call the fire department. So, while people are a weak link in causes for fires, they are also a strong link when it comes to a timely response.

Another interesting fact is that workplace fires are responsible for 25% of the total losses from fires, yet they account for only 12% of the total occurrences.

As far as systemic responses to fires, there is good news. Automatic sprinklers were deployed 90% of the time and put out 88% of the fires. That is an encouraging statistic. Without that mechanism in place, the results could have and would have been far worse.

So what is our take-away from this information? First, it's clear that humans play a large role in the factors that involve fires - both the causes and the responses. Therefore, education continues to be a high priority in fire prevention plans.

Also, maintaining all fire protection equipment is a huge benefit, which we can clearly see from the use of automatic sprinklers.

Finally, since fires can start with people on-site as well as when no one is present, protective measures such as flameproofing are vitally important, especially when a fire occurs with no one on-site. Materials that are treated with fire retardants burn slowly and do not contribute to the severity and spread of a fire. This can preserve valuable assets and allow time for the fire department to respond.

Brooklyn Flameproofing is committed to protecting the Greater Metro NYC area from destructive fires through our flameproofing procedures. These practices not only provide extensive protection, but they are also mandated by law. If you have need of flameproofing at your business, call us today! Our flameproofing treatments can reduce the damage done by a fire should one unexpectedly occur at your workplace. We’d love to talk to you and give you a free, no-obligation estimate: 800-401-5415

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