Sentry Insurance’s Tips for Preventing Spontaneous Combustion Fires


Question: What are some steps I can take to prevent a spontaneous combustion fire at my dealership?

Answer: When it comes to preventing spontaneous combustion fires, the most important step you can take is actively enforcing a policy you probably already have in place: properly handling and disposing of oil- and solvent-soaked rags. Seemingly mundane actions, like maintaining clean work areas and tossing rags into cans instead of onto the floor, can make all the difference.

Here are some specific ways you can help reduce the risk of spontaneous combustion fires at your dealership:

Place an adequate number of UL-listed, self-closing rag cans in all shop and service areas where your employees use rags, and instruct them to dispose of all used rags in the cans.

Implement and actively conduct monthly self-inspections to identify any conditions or employee practices that could result in a fire. If you identify any hazards, assign responsibility for correction, set a due date for completion, and confirm that the correction is effective. When your employees report a hazard, make sure management immediately acknowledges the report and provides an action plan, if applicable.

Establish a process to routinely inspect and test your sprinkler system and its components. Be sure to document the results of each inspection.

Hold your management team accountable for actively enforcing your dealership’s fire prevention practices, including your no-smoking policy. Make sure you list this as a specific objective in all formal management performance appraisals.

Develop a business response and recovery plan, and train your employees on what to do in the event of a fire. This will help you outline the actions your dealership would take to quickly recover your business operations after a fire.

By taking a proactive approach to safety, not only will you significantly reduce your fire risk, but you’ll take an essential step in creating a culture of safety at your dealership.

As the endorsed P&C carrier for AED, Sentry Insurance offers great coverage options and services to meet your dealership needs.

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