Basic Commercial Fire Safety Solutions for Property Owners
For owners of commercial properties, fire safety and security is a top concern. Here is a brief overview of some basic commercial fire safety solutions that you can install throughout your properties to improve safety and reduce the possibility of catastrophic damage, personal injury, or death.
Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
The most basic commercial fire safety solutions are detection and alarm systems. These devices are designed to detect fires, or changes in indoor atmospheric conditions that indicate the presence of fires. They sound an audio or visual alarm that indicates a need for immediate response to critical danger.
1. Smoke detectors: Smoke detectors are among the most important of the basic commercial fire safety solutions. There should be several of these devices installed throughout your commercial properties to improve safety and indicate building occupants of potential danger. Smoke detectors sense the presence of smoke in the air inside your commercial facility. Many models can also detect otherwise-invisible fumes that indicate a possible fire. Consider smoke detectors your first line of defense against the possibility of fire.
Commercial smoke detectors are often wired directly into your building’s electrical system. Consider installing models with battery backup systems in case your facility’s electrical power fails. Test and maintain smoke detectors and fire alarms regularly, according to your facility safety plan or based on local fire safety codes. Remember that sometimes fumes or odors from manufacturing processes, cooking, equipment malfunctions, or other activities could cause a false alarm from your smoke detector.
2. Heat detectors: Heat detectors also provide an alarm in response to potential fires, but they sense and respond to heat rather than smoke. If a heat detector senses a relevant rise in temperature, the presence of a fire is likely. Treat a heat detector alarm as an emergency situation. 3. Manual alarm initiators: Manual alarm initiators are the common traditional hand-activated fire alarms. They usually have a handle, t-shaped bar, or other switch that can be pulled or pressed to activate fire alarm when an individual detects a fire. These alarms can be used to send false alarms by vandals or pranksters, but any alarm initiated by them should be considered as urgent as any other type.
Fire Extinguishers and Suppression Systems
Early detection of a fire means that it could be successfully extinguished before it can cause significant harm. Fire extinguishers and suppression systems are the best basic commercial fire safety solutions for this task.
1. Fire extinguishers: Many local fire codes require that commercial facility owners make fire extinguishers readily available for use during emergencies. These portable tank-like devices are usually painted red and come in various sizes, containing everything from compressed water to fire-smothering foams or gases, based on the type of fire they are designed to extinguish. Class A fire extinguishers, for example, are intended for use on wood, paper, or other materials that leave ash; class B extinguishers work against flammable liquids; and Class C extinguishers are used for electrical fires. Consult with your fire safety services provider and local fire code office for specifics on what type of extinguishers you should have available.
2. Fire suppression and sprinkler systems: Fire suppression and sprinkler systems are usually installed in the ceiling or in an overhead location where they can drop water, foam, or other fire-suppression materials in areas where fires are occurring. They may be configured to automatically trigger when the fire alarm system goes off or when certain conditions are detected. They can stop fires on a larger scale than hand-held extinguishers and do not require manual control or activation.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about plumbing, HVACR, fire protection and alarm systems in mechanical, commercial and residential settings. For more information on basic commercial fire safety solutions and how to use them to improve fire safety at your facility, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!