Fire protection is the study and practice of mitigating unwanted effects of fire. The field includes the construction, manufacture and testing of protective systems and devices. It also involves the planning, design and development of mitigating systems that include compartmentalization, detection, suppression and evacuation.
When a fire breaks out, it can damage equipment and cause property loss in your workplace. It can even threaten the lives of your employees and customers. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your business has a fully functional fire protection system in place. The fire safety system you need can be either active or passive, depending on whether it takes measures to put out a fire manually (such as with a fire extinguisher) or automatically. The key to ensuring that your fire protection system is working properly is regular inspections by qualified personnel.
In addition to regular inspections, it’s important to develop an evacuation plan in case of a fire. A detailed evacuation plan helps to keep everyone safe and gives them a clear path to exit the building. It also ensures that your employees and customers know what to do in the event of a fire break out.
A good evacuation plan is also a requirement for many businesses, including some types of healthcare facilities. It’s important to create an evacuation plan that is specific to your facility and reflects the layout of your building. It’s a good idea to include a list of escape routes and exits as well as any fire safety equipment or alarms in your building.
Passive Fire Protection
Unlike an active system, a passive fire protection system doesn’t work to put out a fire but rather prevents the spread of smoke and fire. This is achieved through stationary materials that are designed to slow the flow of smoke and fire, keeping it contained within the original area and preventing it from spreading throughout the building.
Passive fire protection systems can be combined with an active fire suppression system to offer optimal fire safety. This combination is commonly referred to as an integrated fire protection system and it is usually required by building codes.
The specialized fire protection systems you may need for your business depend on the type of operations that take place in your facility. For example, a kitchen with commercialized cooking equipment needs to be protected with a sprinkler system as well as a specialized fire suppression system such as a carbon dioxide, dry chemical or FM 200 (replaces halon) system. Specialized systems are also required for libraries, some laboratories and hazardous and chemical storage areas.
It’s important to stay informed about wildfires in your area and what they could mean for your safety and the air quality in your home or business. You can use a variety of tools to stay informed, including the California Smoke Spotter app, which combines advanced smoke forecasting and mapping with community input to help you better understand where the smoke is coming from and where it’s going.