Fire Safety in a Heatwave
11th August, 2020
Lockdown measures are easing, the sun is shining and some of us are heading back to work.
With temperatures hitting the high notes across the country, it can be tempting to fling open your office doors and windows while kicking off your shoes and enjoying the rays. But as wonderful as the extra dose of vitamin D is, the hot weather can also prove to be a hazard for the fire safety and security of your homes and businesses.
At Synergy Fire Engineering, we see a rise in potentially devastating fires linked to soaring temperatures – all of which could be prevented with a little extra care.
To help prevent a fire you should keep all combustible materials away from buildings, especially any emergency escape routes. In summer you need to keep an eye on trees, foliage, and weeds which can become overgrown very quickly if they are not regularly trimmed. If you have substantial amounts of pallets or industrial waste, then split up where it’s stored to prevent the possibility of a larger fire should they ignite. Steps should also be taken to ensure skips and bins are emptied to prevent a fire from spreading.
During hot weather, an electric desk or floor fan can feel like the only respite. If your fan is dust free and in good working order is should be safe to leave on for long periods of time. However, the oscillating joints in newer models can become worn if used excessively, increasing the risk of it catching fire. The risk is even greater if you have an older version. Don’t leave a fan on overnight. You must also ensure all fans are regularly tested to ensure the electrics and mechanical connections are working well.
In 2018, firefighters in Stoke-on-Trent issued warnings to people to be mindful of reflective items because of the risk of fire in the soaring heat. A family home in the area was gutted by a serious fire after the reflection from a glass table started a fire outside the house. A similar situation could easily happen in a business premise too, especially in certain industrial settings where reflective metals and glass are used.
While the weather is nice, it may be tempting to dispose of your rubbish by burning it. But the hot climate means a fire can quickly spiral out of control, particularly if vegetation and grass have become dried out tinder. The horrific scenes of the Australian bushfires earlier this year, and the 2018 Saddleworth Moore fires in Manchester, can attest to this. What may start out as a small fire to get rid of excess waste can quickly spread to nearby bins, fencing, materials, or outbuildings. Our advice would be to not burn waste at all. But if it is necessary, you need to site your controlled fire on bare earth way from any vegetation, grass, and overhanging trees. Do not use any accelerants to light the fire and keep a hose pipe or bucket of water close at hand in case there is an emergency.
For further advice about how you can keep your business premises safe during the summer, how to protect your premises while you’re away or how to get some further fire safety training, get in touch with our team at Synergy.
Matt Spivey is Managing Director of Synergy Fire Engineering, the only BAFE SP205 accredited Fire Risk Assessors in Derbyshire. A member of the Institution of Fire Engineers, Matt is highly qualified and holds a BEng (Hons) in Fire Engineering. For more information about our fire safety training and how we can help inform you and your colleagues about fire prevention, call Synergy Fire Engineering on 0843 658 1310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.