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Office fires are surprisingly common. These disasters can lead to costly damage and may even cause physical harm to you and your employees. While it’s important to take measures such as installing fire alarms and fire exits, the best preventative measure is to eliminate the causes. Below are just some of the most common causes of office fires.
Overloaded extension cables
When you have limited sockets in your office, an extension cable with added sockets can often seem like the perfect solution for adding more outlets. However, these extension cables can pose a risk if too many high voltage appliances are plugged into them. Most extension cables have a maximum load rating, which you can find on the back. Average computers tend not to be a problem – it’s when you start plugging in appliances like heaters and fans that you can often go over the load rating and risk an electrical fire. You should also avoid plugging extension cables into extension cables.
If your office is an old building, there could be old electrics in need of replacing. Old wiring can degrade over time causing it to become a fire risk. Soldered parts may become disconnected or you could find that the casing wears away on wiring leaving it exposed. It’s worth hiring an emergency electrician if you notice visible damage, or if you notice other signs such as buzzing sounds or the smell of burning. In some cases, a building may need to be completely rewired to ensure complete safety.
Without the right cooling methods in place, certain machines have the potential to overheat, which can lead to an electrical fire. Some machinery may require fans and cooling systems to ensure a safe temperature. In other cases, simply providing enough ventilation may be all that is necessary – this could include not storing a computer in an enclosed space and opening windows. Machinery is also likely to overheat if placed too close to heaters. Dusty machinery is most likely to catch alight and should be treated as a major concern – the dust could provide the perfect fuel for a fire.
Flammable cleaning liquids
Certain cleaning liquids used in offices can be flammable. Make sure that these cleaning liquids are stored in a cool place – you don’t want them to explode and cause a chemical fire. Locations to avoid include cupboards near heaters or areas that get direct sunlight. You can check the packaging to see which cleaning liquids are potentially flammable.
Paper is the perfect material for catching and spreading fire. If you have stacks of paper documents in your office, consider whether decluttering these paper documents is worthwhile. More businesses nowadays are going paperless as a way of looking out for the environment and as a way of savings costs. Reducing the risk of a fire could be another reason to go paperless. There are guides online that can help you to reduce your paper consumption.