Fire protection is the study and practice of mitigating the unwanted effects of potentially destructive fires. Passive fire protection systems subdivide buildings into spaces to limit the passage of flames and smoke (also known as compartmentalization), while structural elements like walls and columns are made stronger so they can withstand significant damage from fire for an extended period of time. This gives occupants time to escape and allows firefighters to better contain the fire.
Active fire protection systems include the use of sprinklers, a system of pipes that spray water over a fire to suppress it or to reduce its size. They are most effective in the early stages of a fire when a small amount of water can quickly douse a blaze, helping to minimize property damage by keeping it from spreading. Fire protection systems also use smoke barriers, which are thick sheets that resist the passage of smoke and help occupants escape from a building.
A fire safety plan is an important part of any business, as it can help ensure that everyone knows what to do in case of a fire emergency. The plan should detail evacuation procedures, what to do if someone is trapped by fire or smoke, and how to shut off electrical equipment. It should also include a list of the fire-safety equipment and its location in the facility. Fire safety plans are often required by local and state laws and NFPA regulations, so making sure that the plans are updated annually is important.
Investing in fire protection systems is an investment that saves money in the long run. If a fire affects production for an extended period of time, it can cost a company millions of dollars in lost revenue. In addition, the loss of valuable machinery and information technology hardware can be costly as well. It’s important to keep in mind that the best way to protect a company’s investment is to work with experts in fire protection, who can find the right solution for a particular building or occupancy rate.
The best way to prevent a fire is to avoid combustible materials altogether, or at least limit the quantity and continuity of those materials in one area. It’s important to store flammable items in safe containers, such as metal cans or cabinets. It’s also a good idea to ask manufacturers or suppliers to provide fire retardant products, such as fabrics and acoustical wall coverings.
It’s also important to train staff members on fire safety. They should know how to exit the building safely, stay low to the ground while escaping and help others do the same, and never reenter a burning building until it’s been cleared for reentry. In addition to these steps, they should also understand the importance of documenting any damages or losses incurred once they have left the building. This documentation can be useful during insurance claims for fire damage. It’s also helpful to have a fire extinguisher handy and to conduct regular tests of the fire suppression systems in your building.