Businesses underestimate the impact of Fire- Wormald report
Fire Protection, Fire Safety
Sydney, AUSTRALIA, February 2013: New research by fire protection specialist Wormald
has found that 83 per cent of Australian businesses show no concern for the downtime that
could occur if their business was to experience a fire. The research also found that 70 per
cent of businesses are not worried about resulting loss of data.
In compiling the ‘Business Fire Safety Report’, Wormald surveyed 320 Australian business
owners and managers about their approach to fire safety. While loss of life in the event of a
fire is the main worry for 97 per cent of respondents, only 40 per cent cited damage to
property and 33 per cent cited loss of plant, stock or equipment as concerns.
Wormald Managing Director, Mark Gowans says that while protecting people should be the
number one consideration, business owners cannot be complacent about protecting their
livelihood. “Protecting people should always be the number one consideration for businesses
in order to minimise injury and prevent fatality in the event of a fire. However, any business
that has experienced a fire knows that the aftermath can take far longer to battle through
than the fire itself.
“Fire can have devastating consequences and the damage can sometimes be irreparable.
Property loss and damage can result in lengthy downtime while repairs and rebuilding take
place and expensive equipment and important data can be destroyed. When planning for
fire protection, business managers should develop a crisis management plan, giving careful
consideration to how critical data is backed up and how they would operate if their premises
were affected by fire.”
Most of the businesses surveyed have fire extinguishers (99 per cent) and fire detection
systems (83 per cent) in place, but half do not have automatic sprinkler systems installed.
“Portable fire equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets and fire hose reels are an
essential line of defence and are vital for fighting small fires. However, to operate the
equipment someone must be physically on the premises,” says Gowans.
“Fire can spread out of control very quickly, particularly within large businesses and facilities.
One option is to install an automatic fire suppression system such as an automatic fire
sprinkler system which can help minimise damage to property. Sprinkler systems can be
linked to a facility’s fire or smoke detection system and, once activated, automatically
release water to quickly suppress and control the spread of a fire. Other fire suppression
systems are available which, when activated, suppress the fire using inert gaseous agents
such as Inergen and Sapphire systems.
Of those respondents that have experienced a fire, electrical hazards (29 per cent) and
machinery (27 per cent) were the main causes, both of which commonly occur when a
premises is vacant.
“When it comes to fire safety, careful planning is required and all fire hazards and risks
should be assessed in order for the most appropriate fire protection system to be
recommended and installed”, Gowans continues. “Business managers must realise the
impact that a fire can have on their business’ day to day operations and, subsequently its
To assist businesses in preparing for fire protection, Wormald has developed a business fire
safety ‘checklist’ which is downloadable at http://www.wormald.com.au/resourcecentre/
, Fire Safety