These items include;
* upholstered benches and stools,
* beds and bedding where there is sleeping accommodation,
* wardrobes and dressing tables,
* dining chairs and tables,
* curtains, drapes and cushions,
* artificial foliage, trees, shrubs and flowers,
* desks and office furnishings,
1(b) Combustible materials
All of the combustible materials in, or forming part of, the premises should be identified and their hazard assessed. Some, such as wallpaper on the walls, should cause little concern, but others, especially those that may be easily ignited, may require action to be taken to eliminate, control or avoid the hazard.
Items to be considered include;
(i) Materials that form part of the business operations
* large quantities of paper, including files, folders and contents of waste bins,
* many plastic materials, especially foamed plastics,
* packaging materials,
* fabrics and clothing,
* timber, hardboard, chipboard and similar products,
* chemicals which may be combustible or react with other chemicals to produce heat,
* display and exhibition materials,
Large numbers of videos or computer tapes have been found to be a particular hazard and purpose-designed storage for these items should be provided.
This fire test conducted by Factory Mutual Engineering and Research (FME&R) not long ago stands the notion that office areas are low-risk occupancies on its head. Combustible contents and interior finishes are numerous within office environments, and possible sources of ignition abound. In fact, according to an FME&R study of 490 office building fires, the average loss was $260,000.
Beyond statistics, the past 10 years, a decade which has seen some of the most catastrophic high-rise fires in history, have presented some compelling evidence of the fire hazards inherent in the average office environment.
On February 23, 1991, a 12-alarm fire burned out of control for 19 hours, killing three fire fighters and gutting eight floors of One Meridian Plaza in Philadelphia (See page 265, Disaster Recovery World, or Vol. 4 No. 2, Disaster Recovery Journal ).
On May 4, 1988, a blaze killed one person and destroyed four floors of the 62-story First Interstate Bank Building in Los Angeles. Sixty-four fire companies battled the fire for three-and-one-half hours before bringing it under control (See page 258, Disaster Recovery World, or Vol. 1 No. 4, Disaster Recovery Journal ).
In Atlanta, the June 30, 1989, Peachtree 25th Building fire killed five people, injured 20 others, and heavily damaged the floor on which the blaze originated.
All too often it has taken spectacular events like these to prompt local governments to adopt stricter building codes or for companies to recognize the necessity of fire protection equipment and procedures.
Prevention of loss from such office fires is really quite simple. Tests conducted at FME&R’s full-scale fire testing center in West Glocester, RI, and the statistics on commercial fires clearly demonstrate that properly installed and well maintained automatic sprinkler systems and other basic protection equipment can virtually eliminate the chance of significant losses.
However, fire prevention is more than a matter of installing hardware. Obviously, the surest way to safeguard against fire losses is to assure that fires don’t start in the first place. Companies should make it a priority to develop an employee-driven, five-part Property Conservation plan and to take steps to eliminate hazards.
Anyone who has taken even a cursory fire safetly course in their workplace can point out how seriously combustable the objects around our desks are, and wouldn't be making jokes about it.
Your smilies stretch your credibility as a self proclaimed firefighter.