Fire Protection – A System of Prevention and Extinguishment

Fire Protection: A System of Prevention and Extinguishment

Every structure – home, office, warehouse, shopping center, hospital, school, church or industrial plant – needs some form of fire protection. Typically, this includes a combination of passive and active systems designed to contain or suppress fire and smoke to limit the spread of the fire, protect people from harm and allow for safe evacuation in case of emergency.

A typical fire moves through four phases: ignition, growth, full development and burnout. Fire protection is the process of containing fires and pushing them to burnout through cooling, robbing them of oxygen or fuel or chemically breaking down their combustion reaction. Fire safety standards and regulations vary by industry, location, and other criteria and are governed by local, state, national, and international organizations such as OSHA.

While there are many ways to cause fires, most occur as the result of human error such as misuse of combustible chemicals, kitchen accidents, or improperly stored materials. It’s important to train employees on proper safety practices in the workplace and in the home.

In addition to training, a comprehensive fire safety program should include regular inspections and maintenance of equipment and systems to ensure they are working properly. A fire protection professional will be able to identify areas of concern and provide recommendations for improvement.

Fires in the workplace can cost a company millions of dollars in lost production time, machinery damage, and other expenses. It’s also critical to have a plan in place for evacuating the building, relocating employees and customers, and restoring operations after a fire. This can be a complex process and requires the cooperation of everyone involved.

A well-documented fire protection system can be an invaluable tool in keeping a business up and running, but even the best systems need to be serviced and repaired. Regular inspections and maintenance of fire alarms, sprinklers, suppression systems and other equipment can prevent costly repairs and help avoid fire safety violations.

At home, make sure to install smoke alarms on every level of your house and test them monthly. Have a fire escape plan and discuss it with your family. Draw a floor plan of your home and identify 2 ways to exit from each room. Keep a fire extinguisher in your house and practice using it. Always soak cigarette butts and ashtrays in water before throwing them away. Never smoke in bed or while taking medicine that makes you drowsy.

If you find yourself trapped in a room during a fire, call for help from a neighbor’s home or hang a sheet out the window to signal for assistance. Do not break a window, as this will only draw the fire in closer and may cause you to become more exposed to harmful smoke inhalation. If possible, use the stairs instead of the elevator during a fire. In high rise buildings, hang a sheet from your balcony to indicate you need assistance.

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