5 Things Warehouse Managers Need to Know About Fire Alarms & Security
In December 2015, news of a warehouse fire in Oakland, California swept the nation after vicious flames engulfed a warehouse near the bay and killed 36 people. It was later discovered that the warehouse hadn’t been inspected in 30 years, according to CNN. The site, along with an adjacent lot, had become cluttered with old cars, oil containers, pests and trash.
After the fire, complaints like “there’s a ton of garbage piling up on the property” as well as “there is an illegal interior building structure” at the warehouse emerged, according to city records. It’s this type of negligence over time can result in devastation.
So, what are the most important things warehouse managers need to keep in mind in order to present the safest possible environment?
State of the Art Technology
Warehouses are often targeted by burglars because of the expensive items that they store and the gaps in security that can be exploited, especially on large properties. Supreme offers burglar alarm systems that can be custom designed and monitored from our own UL-Listed, TMA Certified Alarm Monitoring Center. No matter how large or complex of a layout, Supreme can design and build the system to meet your precise needs and requirements.
As we saw with the Oakland warehouse, fire safety was clearly an issue. One man who told NBC News that he once lived in the warehouse said, “the big problem there is that it was full of these wooden objects and no sprinklers – nothing. Pretty much one lone cigarette would’ve put the place up.” Supreme makes it possible to protect your business with fire alarm systems and smoke and heat detectors that are integrated into your commercial security system. Supreme’s comprehensive fire systems enhance the security and safety of your employees and business with 24/7 monitoring, fire drill capabilities and testing/inspections.
Electronic Building Access Control
Electronic access control technology is ideal for permitting and restricting access to your premises or secured areas within the premises. In addition to being easy to use, access control systems are highly sophisticated and can be integrated into your overall security system. At Supreme, we offer the most advanced, scalable solutions that can control access to either one door or hundreds of doors for thousands of cardholders. With electronic building access control you can: control access to secured areas; record entry and exit times; enhance security; and protect vital aspects of the warehouse from unauthorized access.
Every building needs an evacuation plan. A fire protection engineer can help you determine the easiest routes of access to the exits in your warehouse and they will make sure your employees know exactly what to do in the event of a fire. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that warehouses are rare in the way that they change configurations and floor plans quite frequently. For example, it’s important for your employees to know that, in the event of an emergency, an “assigned exit” is less important than calmly and efficiently going to the exit closest to them if the circumstances call for it.
Designate Floor Storage and Staging Areas
A well organized floor can make all the difference in a warehouse setting. In the event of a fire, it can mean the difference between life and death. If a floor storage and staging plan is followed on a daily basis, clear paths to exits will be much easier to recognize in an emergency. Use colored tape to designate specific storage and staging areas. This will make it much easier to determine and enforce proper aisle space rules.
This was one of the biggest problems with the Oakland Warehouse fire. One man who once lived in the warehouse told NBC News that he moved out because “it was too sketchy to continue to stay there.” He also went on to say, “the whole downstairs was a whole maze to get through.”
Trash accumulation is another aspect of warehouse managing that can’t be overlooked. Just as it’s important to adhere to the floor storage and staging rules we went through above on a daily basis, the same mindset applies for trash accumulation. Obviously, a warehouse with trash all over the place is going to present a higher risk for fire than one that is kept neat. One basic thing that can help is the proper amount of trash cans available for those within the warehouse. It’s also important to devise a trash schedule in order to ensure that the trash gets taken out when necessary..
The bottom line is managing a warehouse is an extremely comprehensive job; one that involves a lot of “dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s.”