Each year fires destroy billions of dollars worth of property in the U.S., and injure thousands of people. Fatalities are a grim reminder of the dangers of neglecting simple fire protection measures that could have prevented the tragedies. Especially for public use buildings like commercial business, high rises and multi storeyed buildings like hotels and condos, data centers, hospitals and warehouses the risk of fire is real. Three elements of fire protection systems – alarms, sprinklers and fire suppression – can be effective safeguards against the loss of life and property.
Properties with a high risk of fire
Hotels and motels are some of the commonest locations for fires, with fires causing $76 million in property damage each year. Hotel and motel fires also account for 15 fatalities and 150 injuries each year. Half of all fires in high rise buildings occur in four types of facilities: apartments, hotels, offices, and hospitals.
Warehouses and data centers are also high risk buildings. Warehouse fires result in greater property damage though the loss of life is typically lower than in other types of buildings. Property loss and fatalities can be avoided with a proper fire protection plan in place.
Fire protection measures can help prevent tragedy
Despite the frequency with which fires occur, most property managers fail to take the steps in fire protection that would prevent a tragedy. A survey of 119 businesses found that only about one third, or 35% of them, had an evacuation safety plan. Fire protection systems should include a combination of early warning, sprinklers and fire suppression systems to be effective.
When these fire protection measures are in place, the risk of fire is drastically reduced. And if a fire does break out, it can be quickly controlled before it does much damage.
Fire sprinkler systems are highly effective
When a building has fire sprinkler systems installed, the fire can be quickly controlled and limited before it does too much damage. Sprinklers are highly effective, deploying once an alarm is sounded. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that at the maximum, two deaths have been recorded in a building with sprinklers. While that is still two too many, it is a vast improvement over buildings without fire protection systems.
Fire sprinkler installation is one of the best fire protection measures a building manager can take. Combined with early warning systems, sprinklers can cut down on injuries and loss of life and property by 50% or more.
Fire sprinkler systems limit damage
It’s a piece of popular wisdom that often the water used to put out the fire does more damage to a building than the fire itself. Sprinklers use much less water, and are able to deploy much quicker than the fastest first responders. They consequently prevent fires from doing much damage, and cause little damage themselves. By way of comparison, quick response sprinklers discharge 8-24 gallons of water a minute, versus the 80-125 gallons of water discharged by fire hoses each minute.
If a sprinkler system has to be disabled because of a renovation project, the local fire department and hospital must be notified. A few simple fire protection measures can prevent unnecessary loss of life and property. A commercial fire protection service will be able to put these systems into place in your building, and handle all tasks form installation to maintenance and repair.