7 Tips for Preventing Costly Fire Damage Repair

Workplace fires are a serious issue. Even if they happen during hours when no one is in the building, the damage and the cost of repair can be catastrophic. In 2018, fires caused more than 25 billion dollars in collective loss and damages. Of the fires recorded that year, more than 100,000 of them were non-residential buildings, with a range of associated causes.

This kind of loss can be difficult for many property owners to absorb, and the loss of business and productivity can also be hard to recover from. For these reasons, it’s in every property owner’s best interest to invest in ways to mitigate or prevent fires and the extensive damage they can cause.

The following seven tips are designed to help you minimize both the risk of fire and any potential damage that could occur should a fire happen in your building.

1. Invest in Flame-Retardant Building Materials

Most fire codes today dictate that at least some areas of commercial buildings be outfitted with flame-retardant materials. It is possible, however, to take that a few steps further by ensuring the use of flame retardant materials wherever possible, such as:

  • Type X drywall throughout the interiors of your building
  • Exterior materials such as metal, fiber cement, concrete or brick

And avoiding the use of insulations and other materials that may be combustible, such as vinyl.

By using flame retardant materials throughout your building and not just in the designated areas, you can help slow down the spread of fire. With fewer combustible materials between rooms and common areas, the less likely the fire is to move far.

2. Install Smoke and Fire Curtains


Flame retardant building materials are a good start in helping to contain a flame, but they can’t be everywhere at once, and they do little to contain smoke. That’s why installing smoke and fire curtains in strategic areas can also help.

Smoke and fire curtains can be used to cover openings where a door may not exist. They can also drop around fragile or easily damaged materials, or they can be used to help protect areas like elevator shafts, where smoke is likely to travel. Smoke and fire curtains can be installed discreetly so that they’re out of the way until they’re needed. And they can be set to deploy either automatically or manually in the event of a fire to help minimize damage.

3. Install an Active Fire Suppression System

Smoke and fire curtains and flame retardant building materials are considered passive fire suppression systems. This means that they help block the spread of smoke and flame, but they don’t do anything to actively put them out. In most cases, having a passive fire suppression system will work best when it’s combined with an active system. Active systems help to put out the flames to further contain them until professional help can arrive.

There are several different types of active suppression systems. Sprinkler systems are one type, but there are other types of systems that can release foam suppressants or other chemicals that can make cleanup easier as well. Click here to learn more about the differences between active and passive systems.

4. Install Fire Doors and Use Them Properly


Fire travels more easily through an open door than it does through a closed one. In many areas, having a fireproof door and having it shut can dramatically slow down the spread of fire.

While a smoke or fire curtain is a great addition to areas where fire doors cannot be used, having these doors installed between all major areas within the building and making sure that they remain shut when not in use can go a long way toward helping to stop the spread of flame. These doors do not put out the fire and they do not block smoke, but they can help keep the fire contained to one area where it’s easier to put it out by emergency personnel.

5. Store Hazardous Materials Safely

The most common cause of workplace fires comes from the kitchen, but hazardous materials and chemicals are also high on the list of causes. Hazardous materials and chemicals need to be stored properly to help prevent potential fires and the potential for fires to spread more quickly upon reaching them.

Proper storage can vary depending on the material. However, no matter what materials are being stored, it’s a good idea to make sure that the area is completely framed in flame retardant materials, and that additional safety measures such as active fire suppression systems or smoke curtains are used to help further contain and protect these materials.

6. Install a Monitored Smoke Detector System

Time is of the essence in most fires. Smoke and flame can travel very quickly, and the sooner you are able to alert the professionals for help, the better. Manual fire alarms and smoke detectors are good and necessary additions to every building, but having a monitored system can give you even more protection.

In a monitored system, the authorities are notified the minute the system is activated. This can mean that people can concentrate on getting out safely, with the knowledge that help is coming, regardless of whether they take the time to call or not.

7. Perform Regular Maintenance on Appliances and Electrical Systems

When you’re making sure that your building is protected, be sure not to overlook some of the systems that can contribute to a potential fire starting. Frayed wires, faulty or damaged appliances, and neglected or out of date electrical systems can all potentially spark a serious fire.

Make sure that you factor in regular inspections and maintenance for your appliances and maintenance systems. This can help ensure that everything is working the way that it should and can help you reduce your risk of fire.

Prevent Costly Fire Damage in Your Building

Fires can be devastating, with the potential for loss of life as well as loss of property and productivity. Take steps to help minimize the risk of fire — and any potential damage that can occur and help prevent the costly repairs that can follow.

Contact the experts at Smoke Guard today for more information on an effective, preventative smoke and fire solution.