According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), summer fires rank second in incidence rates compared to other seasons, averaging almost 5,000 fires per day.
“During the summer, we are most concerned with fire hazards associated with fireworks,” said Jamie Samide, Senior Director of Marketing, Cintas, a provider of fire protection services. “However, grills, camp fires and other items that are in high use during warm temperatures can also pose additional risks. No matter the time of the year, facility managers should continuously audit their facility for potential risk areas and have an ongoing fire protection program in place to address concerns.”
Samide suggests keeping the following tips in mind to keep your facility safe from a fire in the summer:
- Properly maintain air conditioner (A/C) units – Dust can settle over electrical components, such as capacitors, and cause tracking faults, which can result in a fire. Additionally, running multiple A/C units consistently and at the same time for long periods of time can cause the units to overload and generate excess heat, resulting in a fire.
- Properly maintain exhaust fans – Clean exhaust fans regularly and clear any debris that may build up in the vents to prevent fires from starting. Also, just like A/C units, avoid running exhaust fans consistently for a long period of time.
- Properly maintain lawn mowers – If you are in charge of your facility’s landscaping responsibilities, make sure to follow proper lawn mower maintenance schedules. Regularly remove debris and grass clippings from cutting units, mufflers and engines, and never fuel a lawn mower if it is overheated.
- Properly store gas cylinders – High ambient temperatures in addition to relief valves that open at too low of a pressure can increase the risk of fires. Always store gas cylinders upright and never store them indoors.
- Practice grilling safety – With summer being peak grilling time, it’s especially important to emphasize grilling fire safety. If you have a grill on site, keep it away from your facility and overhanging branches. The USFA states there should be a “safe zone” of three feet around the grill. Regularly clean it by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below the grilling component. Never leave a grill unattended.
- Check facility fire alarms – In the event of a fire, it’s important to ensure that all fire protection equipment in your facility is up-to-date and in good working order. Test all fire alarms to make sure they will properly detect a fire and notify building occupants. Replace any old or burned out batteries. Consider working with a certified fire protection provider to create a streamlined fire protection program and keep track of all required maintenance and inspection schedules.
“With each new season comes a new set of hazards,” added Samide. “We hope by keeping these tips in mind, facility managers and their building occupants can enjoy the remaining summer months ahead of us.”