Storing idle pallets can create a severe fire hazard, whether inside or outside your distribution or warehouse building. Wood pallets dry out and become susceptible to easy ignition by even the smallest source.
Did you know that using plastic pallets instead of wood pallets can affect the adequacy of your sprinkler system? Plastic pallets have the same surface area as wood, but they have higher heat release. Using plastic pallets instead of wood pallets can quickly overwhelm your sprinkler system if it’s not designed for use with plastic pallet storage.
The safest place for storing idle pallets is outside of and away from the building you occupy or in an exterior building or trailer. Here are storage guidelines from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA):
- Fewer than 50 pallets should be stored 20 feet or more from the building;
- 50-200 pallets should be stored 30 feet or more from the building; and
- More than 200 pallets should be stored 50 feet or more from the building.
Here are more storage guidelines for idle pallets:
- Idle pallets should always be stored flat and in orderly piles, whether inside or outside the building.
- They should also be stored in a separate area away from flammables and compressed gases.
- If you must store pallets inside the building, they should not be stored in warehouse racking unless your sprinkler system was designed specifically for this type of storage.
- Interior storage of wood idle pallets should be limited to four stacks stored six feet high.
- You may store two piles of idle plastic pallets up to four feet high in the building, but your sprinkler system must have a special design.
- Whether you’re storing wood or plastic idle pallets inside the building, no other commodity can be stored within 25 feet of the pallets.
- If you must store pallets higher, your sprinkler system design should be adjusted for this type of storage.
Talk to a West Bend loss prevention representative or your sprinkler contractor to determine if your sprinkler system is sufficient for the idle pallets stored in your building.
This blog was written by Mindy Schuett, a Loss Prevention Specialist for West Bend.