security systems for churches

Online Retailing Business Booming? Don't Let That Boom Start A Fire When You Move To A New Warehouse!

by Gabe Herrera

Online retailing businesses have seen substantial growth in recent years. While this growth has inevitably led to the bankruptcy and closure of some traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores, many online retailing entrepreneurs are welcoming and enjoying the growth. The federal government has taken notice of the fact that online retailers have much to offer and, therefore, have proposed legislation that could open the door for the Pentagon and other federal government agencies to buy directly from online marketplaces should the legislation pass. 

Between the booming growth of online retail sales and the possibility of adding the federal government as a massive new customer, online retailers who work from home should be considering relocating their operations to a warehouse facility with docks. Docks make it easy for trucks to be loaded with goods and materials. However, there is one important thing to learn about before moving forward: warehouse fires. Here's what you need to know. 

Dock Seals & Dock Seal Fires 

A dock seal is an integral part of a loading dock system that is found in warehouses. Dock seals surround the door openings of docks and are typically constructed of pressure treated wood backer board covered with a high density foam. The foam allows for truck drivers to back their trailers up to the opening without causing any damage to the warehouse or to the trailer. This also allows the gap between the dock and the trailer to be closed as much as possible, which reduces the risks of damage to goods and equipment as well as injuries to personnel. 

A dock seal fire can occur if the seal pads are exposed to the heat that trailer clearance lamps produce when the lamps are in direct contact or near the foam of the seal. As you learned in primary school, fires need oxygen. When the trailer is pulled away from the loading dock, the heated foam can abruptly erupt into fire. Because of this, it is crucial for your loading dock seals to be made of fire-resistant materials. You'll also need to have fire extinguishers located as close as possible to the loading docks. 

High-Piled Pallet Racking & Chimney Effect Fires 

Pallet racking systems are essential in warehousing as they allow for additional storage for products and materials. These systems allow for pallets to be placed one on top of another, which cuts down on the use of much-needed floor space for the operation of your forklifts and other materials handling equipment. Strategic planning of a pallet racking system can help reduce the amount of time it will take for your workers to locate and fill orders for shipment. 

High-piled pallet racking that is packed densely can change the movement of airflow in the warehouse. The spaces in between the racking create channels where air can flow similar to how air flows in a chimney when the flue is opened. This is referred to as the chimney effect and can be dangerous if a fire starts at or near the bottom of the pallet racking system. The heat, flames, and smoke can quickly engulf an entire pallet rack within minutes.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't use high-piled pallet racking systems. However, it does mean that you need to take preventive measures and extra precautions to ensure that a fire can be avoided. While you can install sprinkler systems directly into the pallet racking systems, the fire suppression measures may not reach all flames in a high-piled racking system but can suppress the fire from moving rapidly throughout the warehouse. Because of this, it is crucial to have a fire alarm system installed to alert the local fire department as soon as the sprinkler system detects a fire. 

Contact a company like Eastern Fire to find out more about installing fire alarm systems.