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Recognizing the importance of fire safety for businesses – Oct. 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week


Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group shares tips for preventing fires

RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 3, 2013) — One electrical malfunction. A tossed cigarette that lands too close to a building. Outdated sprinkler systems and smoke detectors.

It only takes one failure to lead to a fire that can damage a business and harm employees and customers. The mid-September fire along the Jersey Shore boardwalk that destroyed 68 businesses started from an electrical malfunction blamed on damage from Superstorm Sandy.

While the fire’s cause was ruled as accidental, estimated damages to the boardwalk alone are expected to reach at least $1.88 million — serving as a stark reminder of the importance of fire prevention and safety for businesses.

“It’s absolutely crucial for businesses to have a plan for what to do in a fire emergency, as well as invest in the steps to prevent one,” said Bill Raab, director of risk management services for Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group (BMAG). “Fire Prevention Week is an excellent time to examine your business's fire precautions and plans, and educate your employees.”

The National Fire Protection Association promotes Fire Prevention Week on Oct. 6-12. “Prevent kitchen fires” is the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week. According to the NFPA, more fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home. Raab said that kitchen fires in restaurants also are a “huge point of concern.”

He shared the following tips to remember during Fire Prevention Week:

• Good housekeeping is paramount to the prevention of fires. All flammable liquids should be stored in the appropriate manner. All combustible materials should be separated from open flames and heat generation equipment.
• All fire prevention systems should be tested regularly. This includes sprinklers, smoke detectors, etc. Sprinkler systems should be inspected by qualified contractors.
• All building systems should be properly maintained. This includes HVAC, electrical and other systems.
• Commercial kitchens should be cleaned regularly. Grease should not be allowed to accumulate on the hood, filters, equipment and ductwork. The hood and ductwork should be cleaned by a qualified professional.
• Smoking should be done at a safe distance from buildings. Place the butt container away from the building. The NFPA recommends dousing cigarettes in water or sand to ensure they are out. Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation or other items that could ignite easily.

Free safety tip sheets and other tools to promote Fire Prevention Week can be downloaded at

Sources: National Fire Protection Association, the Insurance Information Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group provides businesses with customized training programs to assist in developing management skills and procedures to reduce loss, including in the area of fire prevention.

About Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group
Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group, a W. R. Berkley Company, is a commercial lines property and casualty insurance group providing underwriting, loss prevention, claim, marketing and sales, as well as audit services for agents and policyholders. The company takes a generalist approach to the market, providing competitive coverage for all size businesses. Policies are issued exclusively through independent agents, who serve the company’s policyholders throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. For more information, visit our website at

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Media contact
Polly Roberts, Communications Specialist, 804.237.5292, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @WRBMAG

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