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Controlling Fire Hazards in Dry Cleaners

Dry cleaning stores have always been known for their use of chemicals and the potential dangers they pose. While these elements have been able to provide great service to customers, it’s still a concern in the community to make safety a priority, as well as education around potential hazards.

Fuels, ignitions sources and oxygen can all combine to create fire hazards in the dry cleaning workspace, especially when they come in contact with combustible materials like garments, lint and parts of a building. And when a dry cleaning business is using petroleum-based solvents, this kind of risk only becomes more relevant.

Dry cleaners can take steps to avoid hazards from breaking out while also protecting their business after an unfortunate event takes place. Here are some tips on how both can be pursued.

Making Insurance a Priority

While it’s very important to understand the risks when it comes to flammable and combustible items inside a dry cleaning shop, it’s just as important to understand the risks related to the fallout of an accident occurring. Following an event like a fire, the total damages can add up, leaving a small business like a dry cleaner hung out to dry. That’s why it’s important to have an effective dry cleaners insurance plan to supply the financial protection needed after a costly event. While preventing these issues from taking place, having peace of mind knowing you’re covered will help you to operate with confidence.

Stopping Before It Starts

There are new solvents and machines available today that are safer and more reliable than traditional solvents that are petroleum-based. These new solvents come with higher flashpoints that are less likely to ignite or explode than solvents with lower flashpoints (below 131 degrees F).

Fire codes and standards should be followed as closely as possible and occupancy limits should be strictly enforced to avoid potential hazards. Dry cleaner shop managers and owners should also keep an eye on things like smoke detectors, fire suppression systems and related issues to reduce the risk of fire hazards. Being proactive will help to keep fire hazards and property damage low.

Back to new solvents and machines, there are some options that have been developed to reduce the risk of fire and explosion by using vacuum technology or an inert gas like nitrogen.

Around the Building

Awareness of standards is also another way to be proactive and keep hazards away. Managers and owners can instill “no smoking” policies to cut out smoking and reduce the risk of smoking-based hazards. Also, having escape exits (usually two) in the event of a fire will help to keep employees safe.

When building a new store or retrofitting a current one, fire-resistant material can be used to reduce the outbreak of a fire. Also, dry cleaning rooms can be equipped with an emergency drainage system if they contain petroleum-based solvents. This will direct solvent leaks and fire protection water to a safer location, away from employees and hazardous materials.

About Irving Weber Associates

At Irving Weber Associates, Inc., we understand what it takes to run a successful Dry Cleaner, Coin Operated Laundromat, Linen Supply business, Textile Restoration, or Commercial Launderer, including investing in a comprehensive Insurance Program to ensure that you are financially protected against claims. Our program, Fabricare Advantage™, offers overall business insurance coverages including General Liability, Property, Site Pollution Liability, Boiler & Machinery Equipment Breakdown, Workers’ Compensation, Business Auto, and many more. For a detailed look at how we can help you safeguard your business with a custom-tailored package, please contact our experts today at (800) 243-1811.