Firefighting has come a long way since ancient Romans passed buckets to each other to throw on an active blaze, but just as importantly, our understanding of what causes fires and our ability to track those incidences have increased dramatically. Abiding by fire prevention measures can go a long way toward protecting lives and properties.
While house fires receive a lot of the attention, fires in businesses can result in substantial property damage and endanger potentially hundreds of lives. In honor of October’s designation as Fire Prevention Month, we’ve collected statistics on business fires to help you better understand their causes—and assist you in finding methods to potentially prevent them from occurring.
Business fires by the numbers
Over 100,000 fires occur annually.
While the frequency of commercial fires has decreased slightly over the last few decades, the actual cost of fire-related property damage has skyrocketed. It’s estimated that fires in commercial properties cost owners over 2.4 billion dollars per year. Shockingly, 52% of the larger fires occurred in a building that did not have smoke detectors present or functioning.
30.4% of office fires, 50% of hotel and motel fires, and 61% of restaurant fires are caused by cooking.
A significant portion of business property fires are started in the kitchen and caused by food preparation. While many of these fires are contained to the kitchen, many can be prevented entirely by cleaning crumbs and grease from ovens, stoves, and toaster ovens and by the food preparer remaining in the room while waiting for their food to finish cooking.
18% of warehouse fires are caused by electrical malfunctions.
Overloading circuits and daisy-chaining extension cords can wreak havoc on an electrical system and are a chief cause of fire outbreaks in warehouse properties. Performing routine maintenance and inspections can help to limit electrical malfunctions. Additionally, following OSHA guidelines for proper electrical cord use goes a long way in the fight against overburdening circuits.
95 deaths and 1,200 injuries occur each year from business fires.
The data available for 2017 indicates that nearly 100 people died in business fires for that year and well over a thousand were injured. The fatalities stretch from offices, warehouses, industrial and manufacturing plants and beyond, so it’s vital to establish and practice fire safety and evacuation drills no matter what type of business you run. Making sure your employees know proper emergency procedures and keeping their exits clear of hazards can be a literal matter of life and death.
31% of office fires occur between 7pm and 7am but cause 67% of property damage.
Having less people (or, in many cases, nobody) onsite at night is a double-edged sword. There’s less risk of fires being started if there’s no one to start them, but if one does start, there’s less opportunity to contain it before it spreads. This is also true for fires that start on weekends: only 19% of office fires occur on Saturdays and Sundays but account for 31% of the total annual cost of property damage. Business owners and property managers cannot be onsite 24/7, which is one of the many reasons professional monitoring of a life safety alarm system is essential in protecting businesses.
Doing what you can to prevent the occurrence of fires in your business can potentially save you thousands of dollars in property damage and provide a safer workplace for your employees. Of course, even the most diligent business owner cannot completely fireproof their business, which is why it’s essential to have a professional security provider install a life safety system in your property. Having a functional fire alarm system is required by law, so it pays to have your system engineered by EPS Security. With more than sixty years of experience in working with local authorities, we’re industry experts at customizing code-compliant solutions for our customers. Our award-winning local Monitoring Center allows us to receive and dispatch your alarm signals quickly and efficiently—even on the nights, weekends, and holidays you’re not onsite. When your building code-dictated fire alarm test comes due, our highly-trained technicians can be scheduled from one of our local offices to ensure your business is compliant and your system is ready to perform at maximum capacity.
When it comes to the safety of your employees and the security of your business, don’t settle for anything less than a comprehensive system from Michigan’s premier life safety provider. Discover the EPS Advantage for yourself and discover a solution nearly 65 years in the making.