When it comes to fire safety, as a warehouse facilities manager or safety engineer in New Mexico, you may believe that following local warehouse fire safety rules, NFPA guidelines, and OSHA standards is sufficient to reduce the risk of fire. These rules are broad, necessary, and useful. Still, they can’t reasonably handle every fire risk in your warehouse, your workers’ everyday routines, or the influx of inventory changes, all of which complicate distribution center fire safety. That is why a warehouse fire safety guideline is necessary.
Here are some simple warehouse fire safety standards that you and your employees may utilize here in New Mexico to limit fire risk, protect people, and minimize property damage.
Guide to Warehouse Fire Safety Regulations
Besides the daily preventative steps listed above, refer to NFPA Standards and use this guidance and checklist to keep on track to make fire safety in your ever-changing warehouse environment easier. Please bear in mind that this list is not inclusive; your warehouse will have its own set of dangers and fire safety needs, which a variety of circumstances will determine. This is especially true when it comes to the things you store in your warehouse.
- Provide annual fire safety training to existing staff, as well as onboarding new personnel.
- Assign fire watchers, evacuation supervisors, and those who will stay behind to shut down essential equipment to the appropriate people.
- Check with your fire protection engineer to see if the original fire protection design for each building is still up to code for current activities.
- Go over fire and emergency evacuation exercises with your family.
- Have a designated smoking area outdoors, away from buildings, garbage bins, and plants, with “No Smoking” signs posted inside.
- Become acquainted with your local fire department and learn what you must do to be compliant.
- Ensure your warehouse has the proper fire suppression and sprinkler systems in place; examine and maintain them to ensure they will work when needed.
- Have fire extinguishers on hand that are completely charged and unbroken and educate everyone on using them.
- Make sure your sprinklers are supported by a water system with sufficient capacity and pressure.
- Maintain an open area of 18 inches beneath sprinkler heads or suppression nozzles or 24 inches below the roof if no sprinklers are present. ESFR sprinklers may necessitate a 36-inch clearance.
- There must be 3 inches of spacing between pallets on all sides (transverse space).
- Between loads or back-to-back rows, there must be 6 inches of longitudinal flue space.
- If you have racked pallets in your warehouse, there must be 3 inches of “transverse flue space” on both sides of each rack. This is the area on either side of a pallet that has been stacked.
- Maintain a minimum clear aisle width of 24 inches or half the aisle width during manual replenishment, whichever is larger.
- A 44-inch unimpeded aisle is required for manual refilling.
- Additional code requirements will apply to automated material handling equipment (carousels or ASRS) to prevent the equipment’s motion from spreading fire.
This fire safety checklist, which you can use and/or publish around your building, can help you stay code compliant and prevent costly sanctions. Working with qualified fire protection engineers is the most efficient and dependable plan because each warehouse is unique and has individual fire safety requirements.