HOW TO PROPERLY PREPARE FOR A FIRE DISASTER

How to Properly Prepare for a Fire Disaster

Fire safety is important in the workplace– just like it is anywhere else. A well-developed and thought-out course of action can keep you and your peers safe.

Here are a few statistics from 2017-2019 gathered by the U.S. Fire Administration on nonresidential building fires: 

  • 108,5000 nonresidential building fires were reported to U.S. fire departments each year 
  • Nonresidential fires caused over $2.8 billion in property loss 
  • These fires occur mostly during the hours of 2 pm – 7 pm
  • The leading cause of nonresidential fires is cooking 
  • Now that you know why you should prepare for potential office fires, let’s discuss the fire preparation measures that can help. 

Let’s discuss how to properly prepare for a fire disaster. 

Why Do You Need to Prepare for Potential Office Fires?

Fire damage is considered one of the most destructive elements to your commercial building because it can cause: 

  • Disruption of business activities
  • Loss of business documents
  • Damage to property 
  • Liability claims
  • Injury 
  • And more

Fire Preparation Tips

In the wise words of Miguel De Cervantes, “To be prepared is half the victory.” 

Here are a few tips on how to prepare in the event of a fire. 

1. Take the proper precautions for your building.

Fire prevention programs and precautions are put in place to ensure your building remains safe in case something happens. No… we don’t mean lighting the door handles on fire or setting off smoke bombs throughout your office. 

Here are some precautions you can take today.

  • Control smoking materials and open flames 
  • Store flammable and combustible liquids safely 
  • Use electrical equipment correctly 
  • Perform housekeeping tasks regularly 
  • Purchase fire-safe furnishings and decor 
  • Maintain commercial kitchen exhaust systems 
  • Control special hazards 

2. Let’s Talk About Fire Safety Education

Fire prevention relies on people knowing what to do when an emergency occurs. Fear and ambiguity are not a recipe for success, however, knowledge and preparedness are.

3.Educate your staff on the proper procedure if a fire occurs.

Safety plans can be explained through training, sent via email, and be posted on walls. When building a fire safety education program, include: 

  • How to identify and correct fire hazards
  • A detailed office building evacuation plan
  • How to use fire extinguishers
  • Examples of recent fires to highlight the importance of fire safety
  • Details of how to put out various types of fires, and when they are likely to occur

Implement Fire Protection and Life Safety systems

Fire protection shouldn’t be improvised. Put systems in place that protect the building, people, and items from fire hazards. These systems include fire alarm systems, fire suppression systems, and other building measures. There are both active and passive fire protection systems.

Active Fire Protection Systems prepare for a fire the right way

Active fire protection systems require some amount of action or motion to work efficiently. These systems can be manually operated, like a fire extinguisher, or automatic, like sprinkler systems. 

Some of these systems include: 

  • Fire/smoke alarm systems
  • Sprinkler Systems
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Sprinkler Systems
  • Firefighters are also considered active fire protection  

Passive Fire Protection Systems

Passive fire protection systems compartmentalize buildings to help prevent the spread of fire and smoke from one room to another. These systems help limit the amount of damage done to a building and give the occupants more time to evacuate.

Some of these systems include:

  • Fire/smoke dampers
  • Fire doors
  • Firewalls/floors

Both active and passive fire protection systems can help keep your building and your employees safe from harm.

Keep Up with Inspection and Testing

Inspection and testing of fire suppression systems are crucial. To comply with NFPA 72 regulations, inspection, testing, and maintenance of your fire alarm system are required on a semi-annual basis. A well-maintained fire alarm system keeps residents and property safe.

What is a Fire System Inspection?

A fire inspection is a process in which the fire department inspects a building or property to identify and access potential fire safety hazards.

How Often Should Fire Systems Be Inspected?

According to the NFPA code, inspections of your fire and life safety systems are required to occur on a quarterly and annual basis.

A Final Word

Your building’s fire preparation plan should be well thought out and organized in advance. By doing so, you help further protect your staff, business materials, and the commercial building from the dangers of fire hazards. 

Ready to Have Your Systems Inspected? Consider LSM

LifeSafety Management has been providing fire protection and life safety services in South Florida for over 20 years—we are your resident life safety experts. LifeSafety is your single-source provider for any of your fire protection needs: fire alarms, sprinklers, fire suppression systems, security systems, and beyond. We can start from the very beginning to design and install your systems, then maintain and repair your systems as needed.

Learn more about us and our solutions here.

Understanding Inspections and Maintenance For Your Building

Some fire protection systems need to be maintained on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Building owners can protect people and property through keeping up with inspections.

Did you know that the fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the nation every 24 seconds? The numbers of fires and fire deaths have decreased since the 1970s, largely due to advancements in fire technology and quickened response time. With this being said, it’s important that your fire protection systems remain up to inspection and testing standards provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Here at LSM,  we are the Inspector Gadget for your fire protection systems. We find what’s not working and we help fix it. Here are a few things you need to know as you look to ensure your fire protection systems remain up to date with their inspection and testing.

What Items Need to be Inspected and Maintained? How Often?

Quarterly Inspection and Maintenance

There are a few fire protection systems that require quarterly regular inspections—mainly fire sprinkler systems. Fire sprinkler systems need to be inspected and maintained on a quarterly basis. This inspection and maintenance includes inspection of water flow devices, wolves, valve components, low air pressure alarms, and other components of your fire sprinklers.

Semi-Annual Inspection and Maintenance

Twice a year, your kitchen suppression systems need to be inspected (that is, if your facility has a kitchen). In addition, if your facility uses magnetic door locks, these must be inspected twice a year to ensure they remain operating correctly in the event the fire alarm is activated. 

Annual Inspection and Maintenance

Most of your fire protection systems need to be inspected and maintained annually. These inspections will be your most comprehensive and intensive inspection periods for fire alarms, fire suppression, and bi-directional amplification systems. 

In this annual inspection, over 20 components of your fire alarm systems will be tested and inspected. The major components include:

  • Control panel and component inspections
  • Fuse, LEDs, and power supply inspections
  • Component battery replacement
  • Pull station inspection
  • Voice/alarm communication system inspection

Your fire sprinkler systems will also be inspected during this time. These inspections also include 20 major components of your sprinkler systems. The major components include:

  • Main drain
  • Antifreeze solutions
  • Hose valves
  • Pump system
  • Drain test

Long-Term Inspection and Maintenance

There are a few components and systems that require long-term maintenance and inspection. Some of these components include fire alarm audibility testing, which should be performed every three years. In addition, fire extinguishers are scheduled for replacement every six years. Hood suppression systems in kitchens have multiple components that will need to be replaced every 12 years.

Fire Safety Inspection Requirements

Requirements for fire safety inspections vary state-by-state. Therefore, business owners and property managers need to be familiar with individual state fire codes, ordinances, and standards, and how to comply with these requirements. In general, some specific industries require more frequent fire safety inspections. These facilities include places of public assembly; including theaters, nightclubs, hotels, and hospitals. High-rises also need to adhere to strict fire code requirements, as these buildings have high occupancy and complex exit plans.

Are You Prepared For Your Fire Safety inspections?

Preparing for your fire inspections is essential—especially if you’re in the industries that are subject to unscheduled inspections. In order to prepare properly, you need to know how inspectors evaluate your building.

Let’s start with what inspectors are evaluating as a whole

As inspectors go through your building, they look for a few key things; including:

 

  • The ways fire could start within your specific building.
  • Safety systems in place, like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and sprinkler systems. They ensure these systems are regularly maintained and in good working order. You should expect to be asked to see documentation on the regular maintenance of these systems.
  • Systems assisting in fire egress are working effectively, like lighted exit signs and exit doors. 
  • Lastly, inspectors ensure emergency personnel have easy, immediate access to the building. 

Ready to Have Your Systems Inspected? Consider LSM

LifeSafety Management has been providing fire protection and life safety services in South Florida for over 20 years—we are your resident life safety experts. LifeSafety is your single-source provider for any of your fire protection needs: fire alarms, sprinklers, fire suppression systems, security systems, and beyond. We can start from the very beginning to design and install your systems, then maintain and repair your systems as needed.

Learn more about us and our solutions here.

100th Year of Fire Prevention Week

Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. Throughout the past century, fire prevention week consisted of children and adults learning how to stay safe in case of a fire.

Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. Throughout the past century, fire prevention week consisted of children and adults learning how to stay safe in case of a fire. Additionally, firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.

In this article, we’ll review the history of fire prevention week and reveal the 2022 campaign. Let’s dive in.

The History of Fire Prevention Week

In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance. This makes Fire Prevention Week the longest-running public health observance in the United States. 

Why FPW is the Week of October 9th

Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire. According to History.com, the Great Chicago Fire “burned from October 8 to October 10, 1871, and destroyed thousands of buildings, killed an estimated 300 people and caused an estimated $200 million in damages.”

Fire prevention week occurs during the same week each year to honor the lives lost in the Great Chicago Fire and make efforts to prevent similar events from happening in the future. 

The 2022 “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape” Campaign 

 The campaign of the 2022 Fire Prevention Week™ (FPW) is “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape”™.  The campaign for 2022 strives to educate participants about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and others safe from home fires. Key focuses of this campaign include fire escape planning and practicing as well as alarms.

Why Fire Escape Plans Are so Important

According to NFPA, today’s homes burn faster than ever. In the event of a fire, you have about two minutes or less to safely escape from the time the alarm arounds. One’s ability to get out of the home during a fire depends on early warning from smoke alarms and advanced planning.

How to Start Creating a Fire Escape Plan

Every home is different and therefore, every fire escape plan will be different. Consider starting with these guidelines:

  • Draw your building floor plan using a grid.
  • Label all the rooms and identify the doors and windows.  
  • Plan two escape routes from every room.
  • Provide alternatives for anyone with a disability.
  • Agree on a meeting place where everyone will gather after you have escaped

Fire escape plans should consider everyone in the home or building. For example, children, older adults or people with disabilities may need additional assistance. Consider assigning someone to help them in the event of an emergency. 

While NFPA is focusing on home fires, these same concepts carry into commercial fires as well. An updated fire protection system and a practiced escape plan can save the lives of people in commercial buildings. Those working or owning commercial buildings can practice fire safety by ensuring their fire escape plan is well-known and practiced. 

Let’s Talk Fire and Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms sense smoke well before people can and should effectively alert people of danger. As a general rule, alarms should be:

  • In every bedroom
  • Outside of the sleeping areas (such as a hallway, for example)
  • On each level, including the basement 

Smoke alarms should not be installed over the stove or in bathroom shower areas. The heat from these areas may trigger the alarm. 

The requirements for commercial buildings differ from standards for homes. We urge owners of commercial buildings to research the requirements for their property. Find more information on NFPA 72, here.

For more information about NFPA’s Fire Protection Week, check out their website!

What You Need to Know About Fire Suppression Systems

fire extinguishers in fire suppression systems

Your needs as a commercial real estate owner vary on the type of building you own. You’ve likely heard of many various fire protection systems, but do you know the key differences between a fire sprinkler system and a fire suppression system? It’s important to understand these differences.

Clean Agent Fire Suppression Systems

Clean agent fire suppression systems utilize environmentally-friendly chemical reagents to put out fires. These are typically found in sensitive areas, such as data centers. The chemicals used are water-free and safe for the environment. Once a clean agent system is activated, clean-up is minimal. 

Carbon Dioxide Fire Suppression Systems

Carbon dioxide systems use CO2 colorless, odorless gas to extinguish a fire. These systems are an incredibly efficient and cost-effective approach to fire protection. Clean-up following the activation of a carbon dioxide system is minimal.

These systems are currently being used by the U.S Navy in commercial shipping applications. It is common to find these systems in industries that handle steel and aluminum. 

Industrial Fire Suppression Systems

Industrial plants need extra attention when it comes to fire protection, as most of the areas are in high-hazard environments. The fires that occur in these areas typically involve some type of chemical, liquid fuel, or other hazardous materials, therefore proper fire protection systems are essential. These systems typically use dry chemicals to extinguish the fire. 

Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems

Kitchens require specific fire suppression systems. Kitchen fire suppression systems are designed to put out grease fires that would be worsened if you attempt to put them out with water. They typically utilize wet chemicals in a mist form to extinguish the fire quickly and effectively. 

Fire protection systems needed for high-hazard areas are among the most technical and specialized fire equipment systems. 

LifeSafety Management has a long history of protecting mission-critical equipment for all types of businesses. If you have a commercial kitchen, including those that are mobile, a pre-engineered system designed for such environments will be required. In addition, computer server rooms, paint spray booths, industrial machinery, aircraft hangers, fuel farms, and marine environments can be protected by specific suppression systems.

Learn more about our fire suppression systems, here.