On average, $55.5 billion is lost annually to business fires. This includes lives lost, injuries, and property damages. Don’t let your business join these statistics. Clearly, the safety of everyone inside your establishment is top priority. The first line of defense against a fire is going to be the devices that alerts everyone that there is an emergency: the fire alarm system. The occupants inside definitely cannot be safe if the smoke detectors cannot alert them that a fire is present. Having a high-quality fire alarm system is something your business cannot thrive safely without. Smoke detectors and fire alarms can prevent serious damage before it is much too late. The best fire alarm system for your business will depend on the building itself, what is inside, and the local codes and safety standards of your region.
Are You up to Code?
In order to be completely sure of what type of fire alarm system should be employed in your facility, a fire protection engineer should be contacted to complete an assessment of your building. There are loads of safety equipment vendors to choose from! A quick Google search will give you plenty of vendors that are qualified to assist you in your safety system needs. Your local fire department should be contacted as well to confirm the local fire codes for the region that your office resides in. Safety regulations often vary from state to state, and they can even sometimes differ from county to county.
The appropriate alarm system for your business also depends on the structure and its contents. If your building houses items that will produce a lot of smoke if they were to catch fire, then smoke detectors and a sprinkler system would be the appropriate choices of equipment to be installed. So, if you own an office something like Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, this would be the stronger decision for you. If your business contains items that would not put off as much smoke as much as they would heat, you would want to implement heat detectors as compared to smoke alarms. Heat sensors are ideal for areas that may put off benign smoke that could cause a false alarm, such as kitchens, garages, or smoking-friendly areas. Heat sensors are also a good choice for areas containing large amounts of dust.
Varying Protection Devices for Varying Needs
There are more fire protection devices than just heat and smoke detectors! Different fire alarm systems can include ionization alarms, photoelectric alarms, dual-sensors, automatic sprinklers, and pull stations. Ionization alarms can detect fire before it is visible to the human eye. These are best in areas where the flame would be extremely quick to catch ablaze. Photoelectric alarms are best for protecting your business from smoldering fires: the type that lay low and don’t have much of a flame and can be a bit slower burning compared to raging flames. Dual-sensor devices are ionization and photoelectric alarms all in one. Automatic sprinklers are triggered by smoke or heat to then help control the fire. In older facilities these were mainly placed near stairwells and walkways, but it is now encouraged to have them installed in other areas other than just those passageways.
Last, but not least, pull stations are manual initiating devices, meaning that someone has to pull the alarm in order for these to be triggered. Someone pulls the fire alarm, this then results in the alarms sounding and the visual components to actuate as well. These visual components can include the common strobe lights and the lit emergency exit signs that direct the building’s occupants outside to safety. An example of an automatic initiating system would be the sprinkler system. They are triggered by heat or smoke, rather than by a person manually triggering the alarm.
Your region’s local fire codes and the layout of your facility will help determine which array of protective devices should be implemented in your business, where they should be placed, and how many of them you will need throughout your location. It is highly encouraged to use multiple different types of fire detecting devices in your business. Obviously, your location would be much safer with pull stations, ionization alarms, heat sensors, and an automatic sprinkler system than if it was only armed with just pull stations.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Your fire protection equipment in your business cannot function properly without the necessary upkeep that they all require. It is best to stay up to date on all of your equipment inspections and maintenance to ensure that your fire alarms will sound in the unfortunate circumstance that an actual emergency were to take place. A fire alarm system that has fallen into disrepair is virtually useless, and even worse, it could be a hazard. Building a whole new facility and replacing everything inside sounds a bit pricier and more inconvenient compared to regularly maintaining your fire alarm system.
When it comes to replacing the smoke detectors, it is best to replace all of them at once. That way they can all be held up to the same standard and it makes it easier to remember all of the sneaky alarms hidden and tucked away in the less-trafficked areas of your building. Replacing the smoke alarms at random could cause confusion, and therefore, could result in a safety issue later on.
Prevent the Worst from Happening
Again, your corporation’s local safety regulations and the uniqueness of your business itself are the determining factors of what type of fire alarms your company should have. No matter what types of fire alarms you decide to install, remember that multiple kinds of fire detection devices should always be used in your business. Using a combination of fire alarms, such as manual and automatic initiating devices, results in a safer workspace. A simple fire alarm system can help prevent a completely avoidable accident from occurring to your business. Don’t let your company become a statistic!