If you're having a new building constructed for your company or having an old building renovated, one thing you'll want to do is have a fire protection system in place. Fire protection is essential for a commercial building since may lives could be affected by a fire considering the number of employees and clients that enter your building daily. You could also stand to lose inventory due to fire, smoke, or water damage if a fire breaks out in your building. A fire could disrupt your operations or completely shut you down. Here are some types of fire protection you may want to include:
Integrated Fire Alarm System
A fire alarm is a critical component of your fire protection system. An alarm alerts authorities to the fire and it also operates the fire suppression devices. A fire protection contractor can design an integrated system that controls the sprinklers, fire doors, and elevators when the fire alarm is activated. This ensures protection is automatic and swift. You won't need to rely on manually recalling elevators or waiting on a separate system to turn on the sprinklers.
Monitored Alarm System
An audible fire alarm is necessary to alert people inside the building a fire has been detected. However, it isn't an effective way to get help from the fire department quickly. You'll want to consider having your fire alarms monitored by a service, especially during the night hours when the building is empty. The service will detect the alarm and notify the proper contact person or fire department so help can arrive on the scene more quickly.
You'll also want to place fire extinguishers in accessible places in your building. The type of extinguishers and where they are placed should be included in your fire protection design. Your employees should be trained when they are new hires and on a regular schedule on the use of fire extinguishers. You may need to keep records of employee training if they work in hazardous areas. A fire protection company may provide services such as extinguisher training and annual inspections. Local codes may require the extinguishers to be inspected and tested on a regular basis and have the dates of service documented on a tag.
Fire-Resistant Building Materials
If you're building is going to be newly-constructed, you'll have the chance to choose the best fire-resistant materials for things such as insulation, roofing, and siding. Even if you're renovating an old building, using fire-resistant materials when you can, will help lower the risk of fire and help contain one that breaks out. In addition to fire-resistant materials, you'll also want to consider a sprinkler system and fire doors. If there will be dangerous chemicals in your building, you may also want a fire suppression system that smothers fires with dry powders or foam.
Working with a contractor to design the fire protection for your building is important because there could be many local codes that affect how a fire plan is designed and implemented in your building depending on the type of inventory you store and the type of work being done inside. You may even need to keep meticulous records and comply with regulations concerning how you store inventory so your building will pass local fire inspections, avoid fines, and keep your employees safe.