Top Causes Of Fire In Small Businesses

A fire alarm is installed on a stone wall.
| 10.10.22
Susan G.

Two events stop a small business in its tracks: fire and water damage. Small businesses can be at risk of workplace fires in a few different ways. Knowing your risk and putting together a fire prevention program in the workplace for your small business is essential. There’s no reason to take chances when it comes to fire!

Common Causes Of Workplace Fires In Small Businesses

Office Kitchen Fires 
Just as cooking is the leading cause of house fires in the US, almost 30% of fires in office settings are tied to cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association. It is sorely tempting for an office worker to start cooking their food and then walk away for a moment to check an email. 
Office kitchen fire prevention tip: Require employees to remain in the office kitchen while their food is cooking, whether microwaved or cooked on a hot plate or stove.

Electrical Fires
Some small businesses are housed in historic buildings with old or faulty wiring. Around 12% of fires are caused by electrical and lighting equipment. Buildings and equipment require regular maintenance. A spark from a defective wire or an equipment fire can quickly spread in a small business.
Electrical fire prevention tips: Avoid overloading extension cords, adhere to OSHA guidelines on daisy chaining, and ensure electrical wiring is up to code. Regularly maintain your electrical equipment.

Paper Fires
While paper doesn’t start a fire; nothing helps a fire spread like paper clutter. It just takes a spark! Since many businesses depend on paper, it is worth mentioning this one. Take care when storing paper, and stay organized! 
Paper fire prevention tips: Keep desks clutter-free. Consider going paperless as much as possible! And make sure your fire extinguisher is placed prominently and up to date!

HVAC Fires
Similar to electrical fires, heating and cooling systems can be a particular cause of small business fires. In fact, heating equipment is responsible for 11% of fires! That can include HVAC appliances, dangerous portable heaters, flammable items set too close to heating equipment, and poorly maintained vents.
HVAC fire prevention tips: Ban portable heaters from your workplace and keep vents clear. Have your HVAC unit inspected yearly and maintain it properly.

Intentional Fires
Intentional fires are responsible for 10% of office fires! Yikes, right? Arson is a real threat. A deliberate fire can be much more damaging than an accidental one.
Intentional fire prevention tips: Have a solid security system, especially if you feel your small business is at risk of arson. Make sure your smoke detectors are in good working condition and consider the smoke alarm type that automatically alerts your local fire department.

The risk of a fire is real for small businesses, and small businesses need to have business insurance protections in place in advance. A fire can be devastating without also having trouble affording to replace your office equipment or dealing with a fire that has spread to other businesses, for example. That’s where a business owner’s policy can help! Consider fully insuring your business against fire today before the worst happens.

We hope that your small business never has to experience a fire. Knowing these common causes and using these prevention tips will go a long way in helping you avoid fires. Having business insurance in place will give you even more peace of mind. Good luck!

There's no reason to take chances when it comes to fire!

About the Author

B2Z Insurance is a small business insurance company that provides coverage for on-the-go business owners: simple explanations, easy application, digital quotes, and mobile claims. A product that is easy-to-use and helps you assess the unique coverage needs of your business with confidence—freeing you up to grow your business.