External storage is useful for sports and social clubs, often being where materials like finished goods, flammable liquids, equipment, and gases are stored. While this is convenient, it also comes with significant risks, such as the potential ignition of combustible materials and concerns about security and theft. In this article, we will explore these risks and provide essential safety measures to protect your club’s assets and operations.
Understanding the Risks of External Storage for Combustible Materials
External storage exposes your club to potential fires from accidental or deliberate acts. This could be due to vandalism, arson, carelessly discarded smoking materials, heat, sparks, or fireworks. Additionally, there is a risk of spontaneous combustion of oil-contaminated waste and other susceptible materials. Fires can also spread from adjacent buildings, plant areas or vehicles. A fire at a sports and social club is catastrophic, leading to substantial losses and potentially the end of a club’s existence.
To minimize these risks, it’s crucial to implement proper risk control measures. Here are 10 essential steps to prevent external storage combustion at your sports and social club:
- A Strict Smoking Policy: Strictly prohibit smoking within the storage area or designate external smoking shelters away from the property.
- Ban Burning of Waste: Enforce a complete ban on burning waste materials on the premises.
- Control Contractors: Implement Hot Work permits to ensure proper control of contractors working around combustible materials.
- Secure Perimeter: Install secure perimeter fencing and keep gates locked to prevent unauthorized access to storage areas.
- Strategic Storage Location: Place storage away from the site’s perimeter to minimize the risk of outsiders starting a fire.
- Enhanced Security: Monitor CCTV cameras or employ on-site security guards to detect intrusions and prevent unauthorized access, thereby reducing the risk of fire incidents. This will also be essential to your risk management for insurers.
- Secure Waste Containers: Seal lids on skips and waste containers to increase difficulty for fire to start.
- Proper Gas Storage: Store gases in appropriate secured enclosures, away from potential ignition sources, with good ventilation and shade from direct sunlight.
- Develop a Contingency Plan: Have a robust fire risk assessment and provide guidelines on safe storage practices for flammable materials.
- Training: Ensure club staff are well-trained in how to stay safe and what the risk control measures are to reduce the likelihood of a fire.
Measures to Reduce the Spread of a Storage Fire
While the above steps aim to prevent fires, it’s essential to be prepared in case a fire does occur. Here are 5 measures to limit the spread of a storage fire:
- Monitoring and On-Site Presence: Live stream CCTV or employ on-site guards to quickly discover and report fires, enabling timely control before they spread to buildings.
- Fireproof Lids on Skips and Bins: Securely seal lids on skips and bins to restrict oxygen and suffocate the fire.
- Minimize External Storage: Keep external storage to a minimum to limit fuel for fires and reduce their potential to spread.
- Maintain Safe Distance: Ensure external storage locations for combustible materials are at a sufficient distance from the clubhouse and other club property to prevent fire spread.
- Good Housekeeping: Maintain clear spaces between stored goods and regularly remove waste packaging and other loose combustible materials to minimize fire spread.
Safe Distance for Combustible Materials from Buildings
As a general rule, it is recommended to keep combustible materials at least 5 meters away from buildings and the clubhouse.
Individual risk factors must be considered, such as the volume of external storage, building construction material, and fire risk. Consultation with a Risk Control Surveyor may be necessary in some cases to ensure safety and compliance. Reach out to your account handler at Club Insure to assess your external storage situation.
The Importance of Monitoring Control Measures for External Storage
Implementing proper risk control measures is crucial for safely storing combustible materials at sports and social clubs. By being proactive in prevention and containment, you can significantly reduce the risk of fire incidents and limit their spread.
Stay informed, follow best practices, and consult risk experts to maintain a safe storage environment and ensure your club continues its operations without disruptions. Contact Club Insure to get started and receive ongoing updates on risk management for your club.