A fire breaking out anywhere can be a disaster, which means it can certainly be a disaster for your business. If your commercial premises is full of computers, furniture, paperwork, clothing, plant or manufacturing equipment, a fire can cause havoc and cost you in a whole host of ways, and not just financially. So, what is the actual cost of a fire to your business?

The team at Hartson Fire explains the potential repercussions of not having the correct fire equipment in your business premises to deal with a fire should it occur.

What could a fire cost your business?

  • Staff absence: if you do experience a fire in your workplace, it will most certainly put off your staff from coming into work; and they may not even be able to, depending on how seriously the property is damages.
  • Low morale: coming into work after a fire has damaged a business is not pleasant for anyone, and it can certainly have a negative impact on staff morale, which in turn could affect productivity.
  • Damage to building: structural damage is a very real risk when a fire breaks out. Depending on the severity of the fire, the building could be considerably weakened which then presents a high safety risk. Your building may need to be assessed before you and your employees can return to work, which will also impact on the profitability of your business.
  • Equipment damage: depending on what type of you operate, your reliance on equipment can vary from total dependence to barely using it. However, fire-damaged equipment can rarely be salvaged, and this can also lead to loss of productivity as well as the cost of replacing this equipment.
  • Damage to important paperwork: in many businesses, documentation is crucial to the working environment. If these documents go up in smoke it can cause a whole load of problems for your business. From patient records at hospitals to contracts and financial records, all of these documents contain vitally important information and could prove disastrous if they are lost forever.

Most common causes of office fires

People generally don’t expect offices to go up in flames but in fact, many of these commercial premises don’t always have the correct fire safety equipment and so are hugely vulnerable to the risk of a fire. The most common causes of office fires are:

Cooking: cooking facilities are now relatively commonplace in many offices, and all it takes is a loss of concentration or lack of care for a fire to break out. Leaving something on a hob for too long, leaving the toaster on too high, for example, are simple mistakes which can have serious consequences.

Electrical: electrical fires aren’t usually caused by human error unless they are overloaded onto electrical sockets for example. On the whole, the cause of electrical fires tends to be faulty wiring which can be difficult to spot unless you’re an electrician! This is why PAT testing of all electrical equipment is so important in any business premises.

Smoking: even a stubbed-out cigarette can catch fire in certain conditions which means smoking can present a serious risk to the safety of your property. The safest thing you can do is to provide cigarette disposal units at key locations outside your commercial premises so that smokers can

discard their cigarettes safely.

Heating: mini heaters may seem useful on a bitterly cold day, but they can pose a risk if not treated with care and attention. If left on for too long, they can overheat, or if they are left on and too close to flammable objects which can ignite very easily.

Could your business survive a fire?

Every single business is different which is why it so important to carry out a fire risk assessment at your commercial premises in order to understand the risks. A risk assessment will not only ensure the safety of you and your employees, but will also identify any actions that need to be taken to mitigate the risk of fire; it’s also important for insurance purposes.

Every commercial business premises should also have a disaster recovery plan to minimise downtime for your business and the financial impact should a fire occur.

Hartson Fire is proud to be a leading independent provider of fire safety equipment for businesses around the UK. If you would like to know more about our products and servicing plans, please visit our website or call us on