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Library: Guidance Sheets: Effective Fire Fighting - The Economic Argument


There are many compelling broadly ‘non-economic’ reasons why fire detection and firefighting equipment should be supplied and maintained by appropriately accredited businesses and done so in accordance with the various guidance, standards and legislation that is applicable. Such reasons include health and safety, legislation compliance, insurance implications, etc., etc. These reasons are covered in our Guidance Sheet “The Value of Accreditation & Compliance”.

However, in addition to these, there are also very, very compelling commercial arguments.

The Commercial Damage Done by Fire

One of the reports most widely recognised as being definitive in this area is a report published by the Department for Communities and Local Government entitled “The Economic Cost of Fire” (requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader). The section discussing the implications for businesses starts with a dire warning:

“Fire can result in significant losses for businesses in terms of lost production, market
share and customer goodwill. Even a minor fire at crucial stages of production can
mean very large losses for individual firms. In addition, fires resulting in the closure
of firms could have significant effects on staff.”

The report goes on to discuss the annual cost due to fire in the UK, which it estimates is nearly £8 billion. It also estimates the consequential costs from fire in the UK as being well in excess of £3 billion per annum!!

Even in national terms, these are huge figures. However, how do these figures relate to individual businesses? The report says that the average cost of fire in a commercial building is estimated at £58,000.

This figure is large enough in itself, but is an average effect. What of the effect of a serious fire? The best estimate here is that provided by FETA (now the FIA) in one of their publications. In this document, they estimate that:

“more than 75% of companies that experience a serious fire go out of business either directly or as result of the fire or within 3 years of reopening”.


Avoid Becoming a Bad Statistic

Now for something a little more positive: according to the Fire Extinguisher Survey by FETA (now the FIA) and IFEDA (requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader), 80% of all fires are successfully extinguished by fire extinguishers.

We all hope that fire doesn’t strike, but all of us should take steps to ensure that we’re properly protected if it does - it’s a lot better to experience one of the 80% of fires that are successfully extinguished by fire extinguishers than to become one of the 75% of businesses effectively extinguished by fire.

The need for effective levels of properly maintained portable firefighting equipment is abundantly clear.


We are members of FIA, the Fire Industry Association (formerly FETA and the BFPSA). Click here to find out more. We've over 70 years experience with parts of our group having been trading since 1947! Click here to find out more. We are BS EN ISO 9001:2015 certified by the UKAS-accredited independent third party, BSI. Click here to find out more. We are registered with BAFE, the British Approvals for Fire Equipment. Click here to find out more. We are members of the IFE, the Institution of Fire Engineers. Click here to find out more. We carry comprehensive Public & Product Liability and/or Professional Indemnity Insurance up to the value of a staggering £5m! Click here to find out more. We are members of IFEDA, the Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association. Click here to find out more.