Common Causes of Fires in Residential and Commercial Buildings

Common Causes of Fires in Residential and Commercial Buildings

Whether you are a homeowner or a businessowner, your property is a valuable investment. But accidents happen. The larger your structure, and the more family members or employees you have under your roof, the higher the risk.

Here are six main causes of fires in both residential and commercial structures. Understanding these factors is your best line of defense against fire damage.

  1. Cooking. High temperatures and flammable oils from stoves, broilers, fryers, and outdoor barbeques combine to create the key conditions for a fire. Restaurants face an especially high risk due to equipment such as grease traps, hoods, and exhaust vents. Hectic kitchen environments complicate the observance of proper risk management.
  2. Heating equipment. Furnaces, boilers, and radiators run the risk of overheating, particularly through overuse in the colder months of the year.
  3. Electrical and lighting equipment. Misuse or infrequent maintenance results in faulty wiring, worn electrical cords, and overloaded circuits, leading to electrical shorts. This is especially common in commercial buildings.
  4. Flammable materials. Faulty or damaged equipment leads to gas leaks, and storage of flammable materials too close to a heat source triggers explosions. Even the improper disposal or awareness of a single cigarette or candle can start a fire.
  5. Arson. Intentional fire-setting is a devastating form of criminal activity, often targeting abandoned buildings or commercial areas with little to no surveillance.
  6. Lightning. While most fires are caused by humans, lightning is the leading cause of natural fires. A recent report recorded firefighters responding to an average of 22,600 fires per year started by lightning, inflicting a yearly average of $451 million in direct property damage.

Some types of structures naturally face more risk than others. Hotels, for example, combine the risks of residential and restaurant factors. Assisted living and nursing homes face the difficulty of helping disabled residents evacuate in a timely manner. Warehouses and storage facilities are typically large buildings with few employees, leading to inconsistent supervision of risk management.

Taking Every Precaution Necessary to Protect Your Home or Business

Countless factors in every type of structure raise the risk of a fire, but as a property owner or manager, you have a variety of methods you can use to mitigate those risks. Invest in the following tools and techniques to protect your home or business:

  • Commercial fire sprinklers
  • Structures and equipment that adhere to NFPA codes and standards
  • Evacuation plan and emergency kit: If all residents or employees are prepared to handle a fire, you lower the chance of injury and may stop the fire before it gets out of hand.
  • Frequent cleaning, maintenance, and inspections of cooking, electrical, and heating equipment
  • Surveillance: Lighting all areas, moving dumpsters into secure locations, and creating unobstructed views of the premises lower the threat of arson.
  • Comprehensive insurance plans

While accidents happen, taking every possible precaution significantly lowers the damage that may occur in the event of a fire. You have worked hard to earn and maintain your assets, and even more importantly, the people in your home or business deserve all the protection you have to offer.

Visit our website for tips on handling insurance claims after fire damage. If you need legal support in holding your insurer accountable, call (504) 509-5177 or contact us online . Our insurance bad faith lawyer has more than 11 years of experience helping homeowners and business owners assert their rights.
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