A Gander fire department is being proactive about fire prevention by visiting commercial buildings before a blaze even breaks out. 

Addison Quilty, fire inspector with Gander Fire Rescue, says the department is evaluating all commercial buildings in its service area.

"Knowing what's in a building, it puts your mind a little bit at ease," said Quilty.

On Friday, his crew visited Professional Tire to document what fire protection features the company has in place. The team also scoped out potential dangers. 

Gander firefighters

Businesses like Professional Tire in Gander are getting help developing a fire safety plan. (Katie Breen/CBC)

"We like to know what we're dealing with when we get on scene as to what's inside that could be potential hazards to firefighters and the surrounding buildings as well," he said. 

Quilty said being familiar with various commercial buildings makes it possible to take an offensive approach to fighting fire. 

The department examined the company's mechanical and storage rooms so that "if there's anyone inside [we'll know] where we can go to find them." 

The department will then take this new information back to the station and plug the findings into a software program. 

Captain Paul Andrews said businesses like Professional Tire raise a number of red flags. 

Gander firefighters

Tires and acetlyne tanks were two of the potential hazards identified during this assessment. (Katie Breen/CBC)

"I can see right over here we've got oxygen acetylene that would pose a significant hazard to firefighters entering this room," he said. 

"As well, we have all these tires here that are highly combustable." 

Andrews said it's important that firefighters know ahead of time what potentially dangerous, flammable products are stored in the buildings. That way, they can gauge whether or not crews should enter the structure or fight the fire from outside. 

"We use a saying in the fire service, 'We risk a lot to save a lot, we risk a little to save a little.'"

With files from Katie Breen