In most warehouse locations, a foam extinguisher and a CO2 extinguisher have historically been utilized as an efficient fire fighting combo. While foam offers all-around protection for class A (fires involving wood, paper, etc.) and class B (fires involving flammable liquids), CO2 is good at putting out electrical fires.
Fire prevention tips
Compliance with fire safety codes is important not only for keeping your building safe from fires, but also for avoiding potentially damaging fire marshal fines.
Warehouse Fire Safety
- Have working fire suppression systems – this is a requirement for any building, but having well installed and maintained fire suppression systems in your warehouse is the single most thing you can do in your building. Deluge fire sprinklers are commonly used in warehouses, along with in-rack fire suppression systems.
- Maintain proper distance beneath sprinkler heads – you must have at least 18 inches of space below all sprinkler heads, as anything higher could block water flow and compromise your warehouse protection.
- Allow for space between pallets – if you store things on pallets, make sure to keep three inches of transverse space on all sides of each pallet and six inches of longitudinal flue space between back-to-back rows.
- If you store things using racked pallets, keep at least three inches of “transverse flue space” on either side of every rack. Transverse flue space refers to the space on either side of a racked pallet. Also, be sure to maintain six inches of longitudinal flue space, or space between rows of back-to-back rack.
Design a Fire Protection Plan
- Evacuation plans – obviously, every building needs an evacuation plan. A fire protection engineer will help you determine the easiest routes of access to all the exits in your building and will assist you in running fire drills so your employees know exactly what to do in the event of a fire. Also, since warehouse configurations change fairly frequently, make sure your employees know that going to an “assigned” exit is less important than calmly and efficiently going to the exit closest to them.
- Fire extinguisher training – working in a warehouse, you will probably have Class ABC or Class D fire extinguishers. A fire protection company will be able to provide training for all types of fire extinguishers so everyone in your building will know how to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a fire.
- Designating floor storage and staging areas – use tape to designate specific storage and staging areas. This will make it much easier to determine and enforce proper aisle space rules.
- Trash accumulation – this is not something you need a fire protection company to help you with, but it’s still extremely important. Obviously, a space that is cluttered with trash is going to be at a higher risk for fire than one that is kept neat. Make sure you provide adequate trash cans and assign the task of emptying them as they fill up. In addition, you should have designated areas for storing unused pallets, crates, etc. As a general rule, you should stack unused pallets no more than six feet in height.
We at AITO offer experienced advice, consulting services, and a solution for Warehouse Fire Protection.