Fire hazards in the workplace and household

Learn more about the most common fire hazards and what protective measures you can take.

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6 April 2023 Fire Safety

In Germany, fires and explosions cause millions of euros worth of damage every year. It is therefore important to be aware of fire hazards in private households, but also in companies, and to take protective measures. Fires are often caused by disorder, carelessness or negligence.

The most common fire hazards

The most common fire hazards in residential and office buildings are human error, improper use of various objects and technical defects.

Fire hazards at a glance:

  • Overloaded multiple sockets
  • Outdated and defective appliances
  • Improper use
  • Human error
  • Grease fires

It is important to know the above fire and explosion hazards and to prevent them with appropriate protective measures.

Overloaded multiple sockets

Multiple socket outlets are used in many households and businesses to use several electronic devices at the same time. The fire hazards due to overloading are often greatly underestimated. The power of multiple sockets is usually limited to 3,500 watts. This power limit is already reached with a kettle and a coffee machine. Consequently, any additional electronic device can trigger an overload and thus also a fire.

It is recommended to use multiple sockets that can be switched off and also to switch them off when leaving the room. In addition, the power limit should be taken into account and several multiple sockets should never be connected in series. Furthermore, socket strips in wet rooms should always be avoided.

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Outdated and defective equipment

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Technical devices that are outdated, faulty or defective pose considerable fire hazards. Technical devices are often not designed to last forever and must be replaced early, depending on the intensity of use. In addition, defective cables, a melted plastic housing or overheating of the appliance are often the cause of an incipient fire with sometimes devastating consequences.

In addition, technical defects (e.g. a short circuit) can cause sparks that fly around and set other flammable materials on fire. Electronic tumble dryers are particularly susceptible to such technical defects.

It is therefore advisable to use only functioning appliances and functioning cables. Furthermore, defective appliances should only be checked and repaired by qualified personnel. If repair is not possible, a defective appliance must be disposed of properly.

Improper use

Further fire hazards exist due to the improper use of electronic devices. Even intact devices can quickly cause a fire. A particular fire hazard is posed by appliances in so-called "stand-by mode", as there is a continuous voltage. Consequently, short circuits and overheating of the appliance are possible, which can cause a fire. If the appliance is also in the vicinity of easily flammable substances, the danger of a fire starting is twice as high. It is therefore important to avoid precisely this.

Appliances should not be in stand-by mode, but switched off completely. Furthermore, appliances with a fire hazard should always be positioned in such a way that they cannot spread to other flammable materials (e.g. curtains).

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Human error

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In many cases, however, human error is also a major fire hazard. A common reason is the careless handling of open fires, be it an unattended open fire or burning candles. In addition, the burnt down ash from cigarettes can also cause a fire immensely quickly. Therefore, careful and cautious handling of flammable sources is essential. Fire safety education for children also plays an essential role here. Children should be informed and made aware of existing fire hazards at an early age.

Never leave a fire or candles unattended. Children should also be informed about existing fire and explosion hazards. Finally, it is important to always act carefully and with foresight when handling flammable objects.

Grease fires

Other fire hazards are in the kitchen, especially due to the high temperatures. At high temperatures, fat can ignite immensely quickly in the pan and thus cause massive damage. In such a case, the following applies: Never extinguish a grease fire with water! If this is done, the situation will get worse in just a few seconds and there will be a fat explosion in the kitchen.

It is advisable to always have a lid ready for the pan in question to prevent it from expanding and spreading to other flammable substances in an emergency.

You can find more information on preventing fat fires here.

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Fire hazards are manifold!

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In summary, there are many fire hazards in private households as well as offices. Consequently, it is particularly important to know the existing fire and explosion hazards.

In addition, appropriate measures must be taken to avoid a fire and to react correctly in the event of a fire. This is the responsibility of each individual. Prudence and caution are therefore the most important motto.

Do you still have questions about fire hazards?

CWS Fire Safety GmbH is your expert in preventive fire protection. We support you with optimal fire protection measures in accordance with the fire hazards in your company, so that people and property are protected.

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