Because of the types of operations that occur at industrial warehouse facilities, these buildings will usually have a higher risk of fire. Thus, fire protection systems for warehouses are challenging, yet a top priority.
Aside from the merchandise produced in industrial warehouses, you will find elements and materials that instantaneously spurs if there is a spread of sparks – some of these are plastic materials, wood, cardboard, and many others.
To lessen these risks, fire protection systems, fire detection, fire prevention measures, and suppression systems must all be in place at industrial warehouse facilities.
Vital Component in the Supply Chain
Warehouse facilities are an essential component in the supply chain of an organization. For this reason, it is of the essence that business owners and warehouse managers keep the place in top shape. This helps in eliminating dangers to workers and minimizing damages when it comes to producing goods. Additionally, this also helps lessen any delays in customer service.
Fire emergencies result in grave interruptions in production and services. Total, or even partial, damage to a warehouse facility can cause enormous financial losses that may take a while to recover.
In addition, fire emergencies can lead to tampering the organization’s corporate brand and reputation.
Fire: A Serious Threat in Warehouses
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 1,270 cases of fires that occurred in warehouse facilities from the past several years. The NFPA further reported that the leading causes of fires in industrial warehouses are
- Arson (intentional fires)
- Electrical or lighting equipment issues
- Heating devices
- Industrial equipment and shop tools
- Soldering iron, burner, torch
- Exposure in fire
- Smoking materials
- Cooking appliances
The NFPA also stated that fires in warehouses usually occur during the weekdays, with little to no variation on what day of the week it is. However, they stress the importance of installing and maintaining fire protection systems to protect warehouses 24/7.
Sectoring Warehouse Facilities
To minimize the risks, large-sized warehouse facilities are sectored into different zones according to their functions. These different zones are then divided by fire protection systems that will help stop the spread of fires throughout the rest of the facilities.
Because of the elevated risk of fires in warehouse facilities, fire prevention and control will require careful and comprehensive planning from fire safety and protection systems experts.
Load-Bearing Capacities of Metal Constructions
Any construction element has a corresponding capacity to withstand a fire for some time – without losing its structural strength or stability. This is called the load-bearing ability of the construction.
Building professionals will know how to calculate the exact time a structure can tolerate exposure to fire before it collapses. The way they determine the time will depend on a number of factors.
- Type of fire
- Fire load
- The type of coating of the structure
- The exact location of the installation within the facility (whether it’s exposed to humidity, or how much air currents were available, etc.)
- The structure of the rack
The load-bearing capacities of metal installations can be strengthened by setting up passive fire protection systems. These are materials engineered to prevent, delay, or stop the spread of fire through proactive protection, such as fire suppression systems, fire detection devices, and more.
Important Fire Protection Measures for Warehouses
First, there are local codes and guidelines that warehouse owners must adhere to when it comes to fire safety and protection. Another critical consideration for employing the right firefighting approach is the size of the warehouse, the distance from other buildings or structures, and the fire risk of the goods produced in it.
The insurance provider’s requirements must also be taken into account when it comes to determining what firefighting steps to consider for your industrial warehouse facility.
Fire Protection Systems for Industrial Warehouses, Factories, and Storage Facilities
Fire Sprinkler Systems
The design and setup of fire sprinkler systems in warehouses will depend on what materials are found in the structure and their level of flammability.
You may have solid piling (stacks of cartons and boxes), bulk storage, shelf storage, rack storage, or palletized storage.
These different storage types will affect how fires spread. In effect, it will also affect how sprinkler systems will extinguish fires.
Work with licensed and professional fire protection specialists to do the installation and design of sprinkler systems that will fulfill the unique needs of your warehouse.
Fire and Smoke Alarms
Aside from fire and smoke alarms, warehouse property owners must also include procuring sufficient fire suppression systems and fire extinguishers to cover their entire facilities.