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Fire awareness should be on the top of every warehouse manager's mind during the cold season, when the heat is turned on and more electronics are plugged in for longer parts of the day. If you want to prevent those sprinklers from going off, you need to be strict about your safety procedures. If you don't have many in place after having passed a fire inspection, follow our tips below to put your mind at ease and keep your workers and building safe from disaster.

Schedule an electrical inspection: Why sit around and wait for something to happen when you can be proactive and fix potential problems before they turn into something else? Get an electrician to inspect your warehouse. If you get a clean bill of health, that's one less thing to worry about. If not, then get the work done that's needed to your electrical system as soon as possible.

Stand by your smoking policies: Yes, it's freezing outside. No, your workers can't smoke inside. The comfort of your workers who want a smoke break must come second to the safety of the rest. Maintain the minimum distance for smokers to stand near buildings, and politely remind everyone if and when it becomes a problem. The chances of a fire may be small, but so is the sacrifice of maintaining a safe distance from your warehouse in the cold.

Restrict space heater usage: No one can ever agree on a comfortable temperature. It's a law of nature. Some of your chilly employees may think the solution rests in portable space heaters, which they can tuck under their desks or in other out-of-the-way areas to get cozy. Discourage this as much as possible by freely advertising your set warehouse temperature and advising workers to dress accordingly. Additional clothes are less likely to catch aflame than a faulty circuit in a space heater accidentally left on over the night.

Clear out waste fast: Accumulating waste is an easy way to start a fire without knowing it. First you start with a little pile, then you build to a big pile, then you move to a big pile with smoke coming out of it. The more detritus that collects, the more it can slip into spaces you didn't know existed and come into contact with hot machinery or exposed wiring that's gone ignored for years. Do yourself a favor and clean the place up.

Be Prepared for the Worst

Even if you follow all of the above, nothing replaces a good firefighting strategy, either. Your warehouse storage should be set up to conform to fire code, and product should be stored without obstructing sprinklers. Hoses and fire extinguishers should be clearly displayed and unobstructed, as should emergency exits. Run fire drills on a regular basis so employees know what to do. Many of the tactics we use go all the way back to grade school, and they haven't changed.

If you're interested in a space analysis that will tell you if you're making the most of your space while staying up to code, don't hesitate to call Speedrack Midwest at 616-887-8886. Our material handling experts are available to answer your questions, visit your warehouse, and help with your newest project.