The recent spate of fires at companies throughout Gauteng is placing a magnifying glass on the risks presented by onsite document storage – and is fast driving the business case for safe and professional offsite information and records storage.

The recent fires in Randburg, Midrand and yesterday in both Randburg and Pretoria have once again raised concerns about whether or not the documents being stored in these facilities are indeed secure.
"There seems to have been an alarming increase in fires at companies this year, bringing fire safety and records management to the forefront of businesses’ risk concerns. Fires of any nature pose a massive threat to organisations that rely on their documents as an essential tool for their business,” says Peter McLaren-Kennedy, marketing & sales director for Metrofile.
“At Metrofile, we have always recognised fires as a huge liability and risk to businesses and have made it our priority from day one to ensure we have the most up to date fire protection equipment installed in our warehouses.”
Companies that need immediate access to documents and records, often have no choice but to store these onsite. They must, however, take care in ensuring that they do so in a secure environment, one that has been expressly designed for this purpose and which amongst other things, protects the records from damp, fire and water damage and from insect infestation. Such facilities need not only appropriate fire protection, but also good fire detection systems, all of which need to be regularly inspected for any potential threats.
Onsite storage is often accompanied by logistical difficulties and furthermore, eats away at valuable square metres which is costly, which is why so many South African businesses are turning to offsite document storage and electronic backups. Not only is offsite management a key component of ensuring the safety of documents from fire risks, but it also gives one the peace of mind that the safety of their documents is in the hands of experts.
"As a company that specialises in the storage of documents, we ensure that our premises are regularly surveyed and audited by an external third party to ensure that the safety systems we have in place are effective. Added precautions Metrofile takes regarding fire prevention include providing a high level of consistent staff training around responsible fire prevention tactics. We are also an active member of an international watchdog organisation and adhere to international safety standards," adds McLaren-Kennedy.