A Fire-Alert System That Meets the Specific Requirements of Your Building
In any industrial, commercial or residential setting, protection from fires is a top priority when designing and implementing a safety system. Fires can cause massive loss of life and property, but if caught early enough, they can be brought under control to minimize physical damage and allow employees and customers to evacuate safely. Here are some important points to consider as you evaluate the specific requirements of your building and create a fire-alert system to accommodate them.
Installing to code
The installation of fire-alert systems is governed by NFPA 72 2010, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. In addition, state and local building codes, area safety ordinances and insurance company requirements are likely to have an effect on the installation of a fire-alert system.
As a contractor, you’re required to follow these codes. However, just meeting code will only provide the minimum amount of protection against fires. Depending on the situation, an effective fire-alert system may require more than the minimum allowed by code. You should:
- Make a thorough assessment of the building or area where the fire-alert system will be installed.
- If necessary, hire a licensed professional engineer who specializes in fire system design and installation to help you evaluate your needs.
- Contact local fire officials for assistance with interpreting and meeting local fire safety requirements.
Goals of a fire-alert system
The first and most important goal of a fire-alert system is to warn personnel of danger so that they may safely get out of the building. A business or facility owner would benefit from considering other relevant questions, such as:
- Why do you want to install a fire-alert system? A system that’s intended just as an emergency and evacuation notification will not need to be as extensive as one intended to perform additional tasks such as alerting the fire department or activating sprinklers.
- What are your priorities for what should be left after a fire? Fires can often be extinguished early to prevent widespread damage. In other cases, particular areas of a business facility may need more protection than others.
- If a fire strikes your business, will you want to stay in business afterward or will you prefer to move to another location or type of work? If a business owner considers a fire a business-stopping event, it will affect requirements for fire-alert systems.
Specific needs of a building
As part of your assessment, evaluate the specific needs of the building or facility where the fire-alert system will be installed. Sites may require:
- Multiple alarms – A multi-story building or sprawling facility will need multiple alarms and sensing systems to effectively detect smoke and fires.
- Concentrated alarms – A building may need a higher concentration of sensors and alarms in areas where there are more people.
- Visual alerts – Alarms may need to include flashing lights or other visual elements to help occupants notice the alarm. Employees working in high-noise areas, for example, may not be able to hear a standard fire alarm.
- Sprinklers, foam or other suppression – Fire-alert systems are much more effective if they include a fire-suppression system. In most cases, when the fire alarm goes off, the suppression system’s also activated. This dramatically increases the chances of stopping fires before they get out of control.
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 about the importance of building-specific fire-alert systems and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
Image Credit: Newtown grafitti