The NFPA issued a report on office property structure fires that compiled data from 2007-2011 to determine what the leading cause of these fires was and what kinds of fires caused the most property damage. According to the report, businesses that were part of this report included: “general business offices, banks, veterinary or research offices, engineering, mailing firms, and post offices.” Their findings weren’t especially surprising, but it provides evidence for the necessity of appropriate fire safety systems.
What causes structure fires in office properties?
These are just some of the findings of the NFPA report, outlining some of the more significant data that shows why appropriate fire safety systems are so critical.
- Structure fires in office properties cause around $112 million in direct property damage each year.
- 29% of the structure fires recorded were caused by cooking equipment, but these fires only accounted for 6% of property damage.
- The leading cause of direct property damage is arson—it accounted for 10% of office property fires and 20% of office property damage.
- The majority of office property structure fires occurred during peak times, around 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
- 19% of structure fires occurred on weekends, but they accounted for 31% of direct property damage.
What can you do to protect your property and the people within?
In summary, cooking equipment is the leading cause of office property structure fires, but they account for very little property damage. Arson is the leading cause of direct property damage, and fires that start during off-hours tend to do significant property damage as well.
Why do fires started by cooking equipment make up the majority of overall fires but so little property damage? Cooking equipment is the leading cause of structure fires in almost any property that has them—this even includes residential homes. Due to this, there are a lot more regulations that require commercial cooking equipment to be outfitted with automatic fire suppression systems that are paired with manual extinguishers and pull stations. Having systems in place that prevent the spread of these fires ensures that the damage they inflict is limited.
In contrast, the remainder of the building might not have fire safety systems that are as comprehensive. In the case of weekend fires and their ability to cause immense damage, this points to a lack of automatic fire safety systems that will kick in during a fire and prevent more significant property damage.
Having automatic fire safety systems that are integrated with your security systems is your best bet if you run an office property. Modern integration allows you to get alerts when a fire is detected and take remote action in order to limit the spread of the fire. This can include the ability to get in contact with firefighters sooner. Ultimately, one of the best ways to protect your office property during a fire is to ensure that you have the appropriate fire safety systems, keeping them well-maintained and in good working order.
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