3 Effective Ways to Protect Your Warehouse Against Fire

Fire outbreaks in warehouses aren’t uncommon. At the beginning of this year, a massive blaze broke out in an industrial warehouse in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Local TV stations reported that multiple roofs of the building had collapsed. A few days later, another inferno broke out in North Brunswick, New Jersey.  

With their vast inventory and industrial operations, warehouses are particularly vulnerable to fire hazards. These blazes result in significant monetary losses, causing businesses to shut down temporarily or, sometimes, even entirely.

However, prioritizing fire safety measures can help protect your warehouse against infernos. In this guide, we’ll share proactive measures you can take to mitigate the risk of fires in your warehouse.

#1 Install a Reliable Fire Detection System

Early detection of flames can protect your warehouse from combustion. A reliable fire detection system can help you identify signs of a blaze before it escalates into a catastrophic event. Consider installing it in your warehouse.

From smoke detectors to heat sensors, there are several options available. The most commonly used fire detection devices are smoke detectors. These detectors sound an alarm to notify people about flames whenever they identify smoke.

Heat detectors, on the other hand, sound an alarm whenever they detect an increase in the temperature. These devices are insensitive to smoke. Though generally reliable, heat detectors may have a few false alarms.

Fire alarms are also excellent. They alert workers and allow them to leave the premises. Go for automatic systems, though. You can set them to trigger sprinklers or call the fire service automatically. Besides saving your workers’ lives, such a system will minimize property damage.

#2 Store Flammable Materials Safely

Improper storage of flammable materials, such as paper, rags, alcohols, and toluene, can pose a significant fire hazard, increasing the risk of ignition and rapid fire spread. Thus, you should store them properly.

Designate a specific area in your warehouse to store combustible items, preferably isolated from other inventory. Also, ensure they are stored away from potential ignition sources, such as heating systems, electrical equipment, or near exits.

Store all flammable substances in containers approved for their use. Label them properly so that they can be easily identified. If any flammable liquid is not in use, keep it in a storage cabinet to avoid leakage.

Inspect storage containers regularly for signs of damage and promptly address issues to prevent accidents.

#3 Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are the first line of defense against fire hazards. They extinguish or contain a blaze before it spreads, minimizing damage and preventing injuries. Investing in them is a must for warehouses.


Several types of extinguishers are available, from water to wet chemicals. Choose extinguishers suitable for the types of infernos likely to occur in your warehouse.

Water-based extinguishers are ideal for Class A fires—solid combustibles such as paper, wood, and textiles. Water mist extinguishers are highly effective in putting out Class A, B, and C fires—solid combustibles, flammable liquids, and flammable gasses—and burning electrical equipment. Some water mist extinguishers are certified for Class F—cooking oil—fires.

AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) helps douse Class A and Class B fires. While it’s highly effective in extinguishing blazes caused by flammable liquids, we advise against it. That is because this firefighting foam is linked with cancer. AFFF contains cancer-causing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

A recent study has found an association between exposure to PFAS and an increased rate of papillary thyroid cancer. The findings of another study suggest that increased PFAS exposure could be a potential cancer risk for firefighters. Exposure to PFAS-containing foams elevates their risk of myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and prostate and testicular cancers.

A large number of firefighters have filed lawsuits against PFAS-containing foam manufacturers. Firefighters, in the AFFF lawsuit, blame the manufacturers for their cancer diagnosis. They allege that the makers of AFFF failed to warn about the risks of certain cancers associated with the use of their foams. As a result, they developed cancer.

Notes TorHoerman Law, ChemDesign Inc., Chemguard Inc., 3M, DuPont, and Chemours are defendants named in the lawsuit. While the exact settlement amount for the AFFF lawsuit is unknown, it’s expected to range between $10,000 and over $300,000.


Therefore, avoid going for AFFF extinguishers. Fluorine-free extinguishers are an excellent alternative, so go for them. They tackle Class A and electrical fires excellently.

In conclusion, a fire outbreak in your warehouse can have devastating consequences, from loss of life to property damage.

However, you can significantly reduce the risk by installing a detection system, storing flammable liquids safely, and investing in extinguishers. These strategies will help detect and contain blazes at their early stages and provide individuals with the tools needed to respond effectively in emergencies.

Consider installing a fire door, too. It does a great job of blocking infernos from progressing. Remember that adopting these measures today can prevent devastating consequences tomorrow.