The Real Scoop on Workplace Fires

Posted on July 8th, 2019 by ContentEditor

While it’s true that, statistically speaking, most fires occur in the home,  it’s not unusual for an accidental fire to break out in the workplace. We don’t usually anticipate a fire when we go to work every day, but just being aware of some of the trends in workplace fires can be beneficial. 

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) performed a study on office workplace fires from the years 2007-2011, and today, we’ll take a closer look at the outcome of those reports.

During the time span of the study, about 3,300 office fires occurred. When we’re talking about damages and physical injuries, this is an overview of the averages per year: 4 deaths, 44 injuries, and $122 million in property damage.

When you compare these numbers to 30 years before that, around 1980 or so, office fires were down about 70% – a decrease from about 10,000 fires a year.

There’s also some interesting data when it comes to the timing of the fires. As you might guess, more fires took place during the week than the weekend – for obvious reasons: more people work during the week, more people are present on site, which increases the likelihood of human error and an accidental fire. 

Most of the fires occurred between 12 pm – 2 pm (typically lunchtime), and as a correlating statistic, most of the fires – about 30% – were related to cooking in the office.

Even though during the day, during the week, is when most office fires occurred, that’s not when the most damage was incurred. The highest incidences of property loss from fires occurred either from 7 pm -7 am or on the weekend. What we can tell from this is that while fewer fires took place when fewer people were on site, the fires were more damaging when there weren’t as many (or any) people present to deal with the fire by either keeping it contained or calling 911. 

While fires that happened at a workplace account for only 12% of the total fires, the damage from those fires were 25% of the total losses incurred from fires.  

Fire safety mechanisms have also shown to be effective. About 90% of the time, when automatic sprinklers were installed, they went off as designed and put out 88% of the fires. That’s an excellent success rate.

So what can we conclude from this data? First, we should note that human error played a significant role in many of the workplace fires, not equipment malfunctions. Next, equipment designed for fire safety played a factor in how far-reaching (or not) the damages were.  And finally, since the most damages from fire were obtained at the workplace, this could be an indicator that there wasn’t sufficient fire protection (such as flameproofing), especially inside offices, as it’s not required there. 

While the trends are encouraging, it shows us that there’s still room for improvement in fire protection.

NYC Flameproofing is committed to helping keep businesses in the Metro New York City area protected from fires through our flameproofing treatments. We can coat or soak fabrics, textiles, curtains, drapes, and other decorative objects with flame repellents, offering your business maximum fire protection. Should an accidental fire occur in a workplace, the loss of life and property can be reduced through flameproofing treatments. 

If you have flameproofing needs, please call us today. We would be happy to serve your business. Call for your free, no-obligation quote: (800) 291-0904.



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