Fire Safety in Warehouses-part2
The deliberate setting of fires by intruders or by people with legitimate access to the premises.
Part of a building, separated from the rest of the building by construction complying with fire resistance regulations, inside which a fire can develop during a prescribed least period without spreading to other parts of the building.
A panel composed of an insulating core material covered by steel facings. The insulating core may consist of a non-combustible or combustible material. The insulation in various panels may consist of such diverse materials as mineral wool and expanded polystyrene.
COMPLIANCE WITH FIRE SAFETY LEGISLATION
A suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment for the premises should be undertaken in compliance with national legislation and guidelines. The combustibility of the stock and packaging, the nature of the operations, the internal layout and the method of storage have a major influence on the hazards presented. Measures that should be considered include:
- physical segregation of the warehouse from manufacturing areas and other operations being carried out on site
- suitable fire detection and warning systems in case of fire
- the installation of sprinkler installations and other fixed fire suppression systems
- the provision of appropriate portable firefighting equipment
- development of an emergency action plan to protect life and property and ensure the continuing functioning of the business in the case of fire
- Staff training in the actions to take in the event of fire, including the safe shut down of conveyors or similar equipment used in the area and evacuation of the premises.
An assessment in compliance with the ATEX Directive (ref 1) should be undertaken where hazardous materials such as significant quantities of flammable liquids, oils, compressed gases or dusts are being stored. The operation of the warehouse should take into account the findings of this assessment which should identify the hazardous materials that are present and relevant hazard zones where there may be potential for exposable quantities of flammable liquid vapors or dusts to accumulate.
- BUSINESS CONTINUITY
Even a small fire in a warehouse can have a disproportionate effect on a business. In some cases contamination from such an event can be sufficiently severe to result in severe disruption, with associated loss of orders, jobs, income and profit to neighbouring properties as well as the warehouse in which the fire originated.
All organizations should take steps to ensure the continued smooth running of their business by making a suitable emergency plan. Guidance for this is set out in CFPA-E Guideline 2 N: 2013: Business resilience. The emergency plan should address the implications of a fire, flood or other perceived disaster on all facets of the business model. It should indicate the lines of communication that should be followed and the contact details for specialist assistance, providers of alternative accommodation and suppliers of manufacturing plant.
When complete, the emergency plan should be tested either fully or by means of a table top exercise, with the results being assessed and amendments made to the plan as necessary.
Consideration may be given to applying commercially available computer programmes that are available from the internet free of charge to develop and check the adequacy of the plan.
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