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Most Common Fires by Property Type

Last Updated: October 8, 2017

As a business owner in the Mid-South, you should place a strong emphasis on fire protection for your building. Your efforts will be most effective if you know what kinds of fires are most likely to occur in the type of property you operate. Here’s a look at the most common fires by property type according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Most Common Causes of Fires in Restaurants

An average of 7,400 fires occur in restaurants and commercial kitchens each year. Of these fires, 61 percent are caused by cooking equipment.

Kitchen fires are so prevalent in restaurants because this area is comprised of high cooking temperatures and flammable grease, not to mention a hectic atmosphere of placing and filling orders during peak business hours. Grease fires can start from merely leaving a frying pan unattended for too long or neglecting to clean the vent hoods where grease can accumulate and ignite.

The best way to tackle a commercial kitchen fire is to install an automatic fire suppression system. Class K fire extinguishers are also critical for putting firefighting power in the hands of your employees.

Most Common Causes of Fires in Office Buildings

The NFPA categorizes banks, post offices, veterinary clinics, and engineering firms as “office buildings.” About 3,300 fires break out in US offices every year. Nearly one-third of these fires start in the cooking area.

However, the second-leading cause of fire is electrical and lighting equipment, which is the source for 12 percent of office fires. Electrical fires are frightening because they can occur seemingly out of nowhere. Worn or improper wiring, overloaded power outlets, or faulty switches can lead to overheating or arcing, either of which can cause sparks that ignite a fire.

To combat electrical or Class C fires, you need a fire extinguisher that uses electrically nonconductive extinguishing agents to put out the fire without risking electrocution. Multi-purpose ABC fire extinguishers are most commonly used in this application.

Most Common Causes of Fires in Schools

US fire departments respond to about 5,000 fires in educational facilities per year. Once again, kitchen fires are most common, accounting for 38 percent of all fires in school buildings. However, the second-leading cause of fire is arson. About 36 percent of school fires are set intentionally.

For this reason, it’s critical to have fire alarms in places such as hallways, closets, and bathrooms where fire starting might take place. This ensures the alarm goes off as soon as possible after the fire ignites to give everyone time to evacuate safely. You might also want to install security cameras inside and around your educational facility to help bring arsonists to justice.

Most Common Causes of Fires in Healthcare Facilities

About 5,700 fires break out each year in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare facilities. The trend of cooking fires being the most common culprit continues to hold true—grease fires cause a whopping 65 percent of healthcare facility fires. The runner-up is arson, which accounts for 6 percent of fires in this property type.

In addition to having fire alarms in your building to alert occupants of the emergency, along with security cameras to catch wrongdoers in the act, it’s also important to have fire sprinklers to combat blazes set intentionally. These activate when heat from a fire below opens the sprinkler head, dousing the fire at its point of origin for maximum effectiveness while limiting water damage throughout your property.

Most Common Causes of Fires in Manufacturing & Industrial Facilities

An average of 37,000 fires ignite in manufacturing and industrial facilities each year, including energy production plants, steel mills, petroleum facilities, and chemical plants. Heating and industrial equipment are responsible for a combined 28 percent of structure fires in this property type.

Heater and industrial equipment fires often occur when the wiring overheats or something combustible gets too close to the heat source. Manufacturing and industrial facility fires can spread rapidly because sawdust, lint or other waste products tend to litter the floor. These items can feed a growing fire dangerously fast.

Automatic fire suppression is one effective method for fighting fires in this property type. Pyro-Chem MONARCH and CO2 suppression systems are just two effective options for smothering fires effectively in settings where dangerous chemicals or sensitive equipment may be present.

Install the Fire Protection Systems You Need for Your Building

At State Systems, our goal is to protect life and property with comprehensive fire protection services. Contact us whether you need fire alarm installation, fire extinguisher inspection, or fire suppression system recharging. We serve business owners in the Mid-South, including Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

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