Jun 18, 2018
Electrical Fire Prevention Checklist

{Sponsored} It may seem counter-intuitive that a place with so much water within it can have a risk of electrical fire, but these types of fires are the most common in a greenhouse and can get out of control rapidly. Many factors contribute to increasing this risk, but there are steps greenhouse owners can take to mitigate them.

  1. Always build to code. Many states have additional recommendations and requirements that greenhouses should follow in addition to code.
  2. Set a schedule for inspecting electrical connections.
  3. Store combustible liquids in a separate building from heaters, heating elements and electrical boxes. Be sure to keep this building well-ventilated to prevent heat buildup.
  4. Have fire extinguishers handy. Within 75 feet of combustibles (wood, paper, cardboard, plastic) and 50 feet of flammables (paint, gasoline, diesel) is ideal.
  5. Have an emergency action plan in place and complete fire drills with your employees so everyone knows the evacuation routes.
  6. Check your insurance policy and keep it updated for any renovation or new construction completed on your property.
  7. Always properly train any employees working with chemicals and keep Safety Data Sheets (SDS) handy for reference. A good place to keep a copy is where chemicals are stored or applied, such as where they are added in the water supply used on plants.
  8. Test your alarm systems on a schedule and do not neglect dysfunctional alarms.
  9. Remove oily rags from areas where there is high heat; this is especially imperative in summer months, when greenhouses get excessively hot. Oily rags can spontaneously combust at the right temperatures; any electrical nearby can be an excellent conduit for fire to spread through and engulf a greenhouse. Make sure oily rags are properly stored in a sealed metal container and removed each day from buildings and greenhouses.
  10. Encourage employees to quit smoking to improve their health, prevent nicotine residues from spreading to the plants, and reduce the risk of fire due to carelessly discarded cigarette. If you are going to allow smoking on your property ensure it is only done in a designated area(s) with properly maintained smoking receptacles. In addition, train workers to wash their hands after smoking before they handle any plant material.
  11. In case of fire, fans should be turned off and roof vents should be opened. If this will risk life and limb, simply evacuating is the best choice.
  12. Create a fire prevention plan and be sure all of employees are trained in any procedures included in the plan.
  13. Always use flame-retardant glazing, especially near electrical work.
  14. Only install energy curtain in your greenhouses that is either flame retardant or flame resistant with a firebreak to prevent curtain to curtain flame spread. Make sure there is proper clearance between the energy curtain and sources of heat and/or combustion.

Following these tips will help prevent the start and spread of fire in your greenhouses. Since metal can burn hotter than wood, fires in modern greenhouses can be dangerous and will burn hotter and longer than in wood-framed greenhouses. Always be sure to consult your insurance agent for any questions and tips about electrical fire prevention and spread containment.


© Hortica 2018

For more information, visit the Hortica® website at www.hortica.com.

Hortica® property and casualty coverages are underwritten, and loss control services are provided, by Florists’ Mutual Insurance Company and Florists’ Insurance Company, members of the Sentry Insurance Group. For more information, visit hortica.com. Policies, coverages, benefits and discounts are not available in all states. See policy for complete coverage details.

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