Fire is a prominent risk in the lumber industry. Saw dust, kiln dried wood, and high voltage can create a potential tinderbox that only needs a failed fuse to burst into an inferno. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 2019 had over $37 billion in property losses due to fire in the U.S. Fortunately, modern fire prevention technology is constantly evolving, and PLM is constantly working to bring the latest in fire prevention and safety technology to our policyholders.
When it comes to fire safety, producers working with clients in the wood niche knows common sense goes a long way. By keeping flammable materials away from sparks, staying on top of wood dust and ensuring that fire suppression tools are regularly inspected and recharged, business owners can greatly reduce the risk of a blaze. However, a keen eye can’t predict the unseen fire starters. A bad hidden component can create an electrical arc hotter than the surface of the sun, and without specialized equipment, the only way to identify it is either when it fails or when it’s too late.
The most common sources of unseen fire hazards are loose electrical connections, utilizing electrical components under rated for loads for which they were not designed and equipment that has aged. These components are often locked behind electrical boxes, and only a certified electrician will have the training needed to safely inspect these components. Because of this, these risks are often overlooked during standard maintenance inspections. This is where infrared thermography comes in.
Infrared thermography scans have become essential in identifying potential fire starters that common fire mitigation steps might fail to identify. These cameras detect “hot spots” and can spot the source of a fire before it arcs or sparks. Many insurers require annual infrared thermography screenings, and at PLM we offer the service free of change.
That said, producers should consider talking to their clients about purchasing an infrared camera of their own and train their floor managers on how to use it. Technology has advanced to where infrared cameras are now available as a smartphone attachment and can be purchased online for about $200. While these cameras are not as sophisticated as the infrared thermography cameras used by professionals, they can detect the initial signs of a hot spot and add an extra layer of protection between annual surveys.
The first step to stopping a fire is preventing it, and PLM is working hard to support producers as they support the fire prevention efforts of their clients. For more information on all of PLM’s fire prevention guides, including infrared thermography surveys, visit https://www.plmins.com/loss-control/loss-control-guides/fire/.
Producer Update: Issue 5 – 2021
IN THIS ISSUE:
- President’s Letter
- Plumb Safety: How to Predict a Fire – Using Thermal Imaging to Detect Hotspots
- Coverage Toolbox: Understanding the Value in EPLI Protection
- Restructuring of the Operations and Customer Service Departments
- The Dovetail: Partnering In Litigation and Optimizing Outcomes
- Spotlight On: Retirement News – Christopher Crucitt
- Spotlight On: 5 Percent Dividend For NEMEON Dividend Plan
- Broker Commissions Go Direct