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Fire: The Human Factor

  May 8, 2008




According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading cause of non-home structure fires, after intentional fires, is cooking equipment. While a freak wiring accident could suddenly cause a toaster to go up in flames, it’s more likely someone jammed a Pop-Tart in it and walked away.

It just goes to show that one of the greatest fire hazards in a building is the population it houses. For example, compared to offices, hospitals and colleges, warehouses have far fewer fires. The simple reason is there are fewer people in warehouses to start a fire in the first place.

To manage the risk posed by human error, education is paramount. If a facility houses flammable liquids, those that come into contact with them should know how to store and dispense them. In office buildings, educate occupants on specific dangers, such as space heaters. Likewise, instill a babysitting policy for heating food in toasters or microwaves, lest that bag of popcorn transform into a flamethrower.

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