The figures are down but still staggering:
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments responded to about 3,300 office property fires per year between 2007 and 2011. Those fires resulted in about $112 million in property damage each year, and most were in business offices – and happened during business hours.
The good news is the number of business fires was down a whopping 71 percent from 1980 to 2011. Still, no one wants to have to deal with a fire, least of all a cannabis business with greenhouses and storehouses filled with inventory.
There are, of course, plenty of hazards that can be found in any grow facility, including the use of CO2 to enrich the atmosphere for plants, and the use of butane, propane and other highly flammable solvents for extraction.
In the cannabis industry, especially the extraction side, fire hazards are unfortunately more the rule than the exception.
LEARN MORE: CCIG’s Cannabis Practice
One of the more common problems we’ve seen centers on the proper storage of combustibles. Whether you’re about to open a new facility or have been in business for a while, here’s a quick checklist of procedures to help you make sure you’re doing things right:
- Class B combustibles (combustible liquids, and flammable liquids, gases, and aerosols) should be stored in approved cabinets or rooms that are far from ignition sources and are well-ventilated.
- Flammable and combustible liquids should be stored in approved, sealed containers or tanks.
- Class B combustibles should be stored away from exits and stairs.
- Oxygen cylinders should be segregated from fuel-gas cylinders and combustible materials with the appropriate distance or barriers.
- Atmospheric storage tanks should be sufficiently vented.
- Keep heat, flame, smoke, ignition sources, and hot work far from Class B combustibles.
- Assure that electrical equipment near Class B combustibles is safe.
- Always ground flammable liquid dispensing containers, such as drums, during dispensing.
What else? The no-brainers include:
- Ensuring combustible waste products – we’re talking about everyday trash, folks – are cleared out of your building every day.
- Move pallets that are not in use outdoors, away from your building, while protecting any indoor stacks with an automatic sprinkler system.
- Make sure any heat-producing equipment is properly installed and regularly inspected and tested.
With the marijuana industry ramping up worldwide, and with millions of square feet of new marijuana production facilities planned for the U.S. in coming years, issues and problems are bound to crop up.
The good news is that advice is readily available, including a recently published new chapter from the National Fire Protection Association addressing the cannabis industry.
Even better, CCIG can help walk you through the requirements. Our Risk Control and Prevention Specialists work with you to identify your exposures and can offer you the solutions to avoid risk and mitigate losses. In other words, we make sure you’ve done all that you can to make your workplace safe to protect your employees and your investment.
Spencer Mahoney is a CCIG insurance advisor. Reach him at 720-212-2051 or SpencerM@thinkccig.com
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance brokerage with the full-service capabilities of a national brokerage. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of risk with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.