Fire and Life Safety in Mercantile Properties

Integrated Fire SystemsFire & Life Safety Updates

Be Safe While Shopping This Holiday Season

The Holiday Season is here which means that people will be flooding to mercantile properties to get all of the best Black Friday deals. NFPA describes mercantile properties as, “an assortment of different types of stores, facilities providing personal services such as barber and beauty shops, laundry or dry cleaning shops, service stations, vehicle or other repair shops, and businesses selling professional supplies or services, retail stores, and recreational hobby, home repair sales, or pet stores”.

No matter the time of year, mercantile properties are at risk of fire. But, when more people than normal are out shopping it creates congestion that can make it dangerous to evacuate in the event of a fire.

Leading Causes of Structure Fires

NFPA reports that the leading causes of structure fires in mercantile properties are:

  • Cooking Equipment
    • 21% – Fires
    • 7% – Property Damage
  • Electrical Distribution and Lighting Equipment
    • 15% – Fires
    • 27% – Property Damage
  • Heating Equipment
    • 11% – Fires
    • 9% – Property Damage
  • Intentional
    • 11% – Fires
    • 20% – Property Damage
  • Smoking Materials
    • 6% – Fires
    • 4% – Property Damage
Time of Structure Fires

According to NFPA, 71% of mercantile fires happen between 6:00am and 9:00pm. But, “fires [that] occurred between 9:00pm and 5:00am caused an average of $73,800 property damage each, while those occurring between 5:00am and 9:00pm caused an average of $33,900”.

While it can be much more dangerous for people to have a fire break out during business hours, it usually causes less damage. This is because there are people in the stores to catch the fires and alert the proper authorities.

Also, November, December, and January are in the top 4 months in average annual structure fires.

  • January – 1,300 fires
  • February – 1,110 fires
  • March – 1,220 fires
  • April – 1,190 fires
  • May – 1,110 fires
  • June – 1,080 fires
  • July – 1,120 fires
  • August – 1,050 fires
  • September – 990 fires
  • October – 1,090 fires
  • November – 1,130 fires
  • December – 1,190 fires
What This Means

If you own a mercantile business it is important to make sure that your property is kept up to date with its fire and life safety needs. Make sure that your cooking, electrical, lighting, and heating equipment are all up to code. It is also important that you have your fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems inspected regularly to ensure that they will work in the event of a fire.

If you are a patron of mercantile businesses enjoy shopping this holiday season, but make sure that you are aware of your surroundings. Know where your emergency locations are and if the store gets too crowded use your judgement as to if the situation and building are safe.

-The IFS Team