Wildfire ravages millions of acres of forest every year in the United States. The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reported that last year over 26,000 fires burnt 2.1 million acres. This year, NIFC reports that we’re already up to 30,000 fires that have destroyed 1.3 million acres. Fire is massively destructive, and the men and women who battle them have a very powerful force to contend with.
Above: Drone footage from massive fires in Washington State.
Fires do often occur naturally, but nature is just one vulnerable place when it comes to fires—structure fires are extremely destructive as well. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that in 2012, U.S. fire departments responded to over 1.3 million fires, 35 percent of which (about 455,000) were structure fires. This is nearly $12.5 million in direct property loss.
Above: Firefighter’s view as he battles flames at a burning residence.
Structure fires can affect homes, and businesses alike. Even though most offices are equipped with high-pressure fire systems and other things to put out fires, they might not always do the job. Fire can still cause thousands of dollars in damage to businesses that aren’t prepared.
To be blunt, you need a plan, and there are plenty of questions to ask yourself about your business when it comes to fire safety such as:
– Are fire extinguishers up to date?
– Do employees know where fire extinguishers are?
– Are sprinkler heads obstruction-free?
– Do employees know what to do in the event of a fire?
– Does your business have written policies that govern disaster safety?
These are just a few quick questions to think about, but a more exhaustive list can be found here. Additionally, be sure to check the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website to find codes and standards that are specific to your business.
As we all swelter through the hottest, driest months of the year, we’d do well to take some time to think about fire safety. You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety and longevity of your business, no matter what industry you’re in.
Photo credit: Cameron Strandberg via Wikimedia.