Fire safety for your business

fire extnguishers
13Apr 2022

When researching potential fire protection options for your business, you might have a few questions about what kind of fire detection devices or fire alarms your commercial premises require. These fire safety FAQs answer some common questions.



What are the leading causes of fires?

The leading causes of fires in commercial property are heating equipment, cooking equipment, smoking materials, lighting and electrical equipment.

Knowing what may cause a fire in your premises is necessary to plan and install adequate means of fire detection, including appropriate smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinkles, and extinguishes.



Why do you need to know the types of fire and use the appropriate fire extinguishers?


The fire type depends on the kind of fuel it burns. It is vital to know that different extinguishers tackle different classes of fire. An incorrect combination may turn lethal and bring even more damage to your property.


  • Class These fires involve solid materials: wood, paper, textiles, cloth or plastic. The ideal extinguishing substances to handle this fire are ABC powder-based and

water-based extinguishers.


  • Class B fires involve such flammable liquids as petrol, diesel or You can use CO2, Dry Powder, and foam based fire extinguishers to deal with Class B fires.


  • Class C fires involve gasses. For this type of fire, go for either multi-purpose ABC dry powder or gaseous fire extinguishers.


  • Class Such fires involve combustible metals. Make sure to use powder-based, CO2-based, water mist based and clean gas-based fire extinguishers to avoid the danger of electrocution.


  • Class E fires arise from electrical Agents that can combat class E fires are water mist and foam mist based fire extinguishers.


Is there a legal requirement for a business owner to have fire protection equipment on the commercial property?

The primary legislation regulating fire detection equipment in public buildings is the Fire Services Act. This document places a responsibility on every person who has control over the premises to provide fire safety and appropriate fire-fighting equipment.


Other documents placing a duty of care on business owners are The Safety, Health and Welfare Act at Work (2007) and the Safety, Health and Welfare Act (2005).


Moreover, specific guides and codes of practice relating to fire detection differ depending on the business type.



What do business owners need to do to protect their commercial property against the risk of fire?


  • Employers need to take these steps to minimise the risk of fire incidents and penalties for non-compliance:


  • Regularly perform a fire risk assessment, maintain and service the existing fire protection system


  • Separate sources of fuel from sources of ignition


  • Make certain that fire-fighting equipment such as fire alarms, smoke detectors and extinguishers are in good working order


  • Provide employees with appropriate training



How often should the fire protection equipment be inspected?

It is necessary to schedule maintenance services for your fire alarm equipment once a year. Annual professional testing helps catch and correct problems with your fire detection system. Keep records of these visits for auditing purposes to prove compliance with the fire safety act. You should as well perform simple testing between yearly professional visits to ensure the fire safety equipment is operating correctly:


  • Check the alarm panel operation daily.
  • Test an operating point of line switch to sound the alarm weekly.


  • Quarterly and annually a competent person, a manufacturer or a supplier should carry out test​

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