In 2014 alone, fire departments across the U.S. responded to over 1.2 million fires. These fires are responsible for 3,275 fatalities and $11.6 billion in property damage. If you own a commercial property, making sure your commercial fire alarm installation is executed correctly is a critical part of having a safe place of business for both your employees and customers. Choosing fire alarm installation plans that involve both comprehensive fire sprinkler systems and early detection fire protection reduces your risk of property damage and, more importantly, injury or loss of life as a result of the fire by more than 50%.
Since your fire alarm installation is a critical part of your commercial building plans, and installing it right the first initially is far cheaper than retrofitting your building with better fire protection systems if it’s done improperly the first time, we’ve compiled a list of five mistakes to avoid.
- MISTAKE: Not approaching your fire alarm installation as an entity-wide project. If you choose the wrong color of paint in one room of your building, the rest of the building is still fine. However, if one area of your building is not properly protected from a fire, the entire building is at risk. When you approach your fire alarm installation, you should bring in a professional contractor to closely inspect your entire structure, and make sure all of the little improvements that are needed to properly reduce your risk of fire are completed.
- MISTAKE: Skimping now with the intention to upgrade later when you have the money. If you cut corners on your fire alarm when it’s initially being put in place, you may save a few dollars now. However, it could be a lot more expensive in the long-run. First of all, it’s unlikely that you will actually ever get back to updating it, leaving your vulnerable to far more expensive damage from a fire. Second of all, it’s more expensive to retrofit a building with a comprehensive fire alarm than it is to do it right the first time.
- MISTAKE: Committing to a fire system overhaul without clearly outlining your requirements and goals. When you’re taking a road trip, in order to arrive at your destination successfully, you need to know exactly where it is and map out the best route to get there. Just getting in your car and driving in a direction that seems good is not the most efficient way to make a journey. Likewise, before you begin a major fire alarm system installation, you should clearly map out the end results you want to achieve and the best plan to get there. Make sure to incorporate the zoning requirements in your area, your insurance company’s requirements (and any improvements that could make your insurance rates lower), and specific risks that the nature of your business makes the building subject to.
- MISTAKE: Investing in a system that has limited notification options.
In the event of a fire, the utmost priority of your fire protection system should be to initiate an evacuation of people at risk, and notify the fire department. Having a system that both alerts people inside the structure and the fire department directly is a critical part of minimizing any damage or loss of life.
Some modern systems tie into your security system, and some have even further notification options. For example, if you have a comprehensive fire alarm system, in addition to notifying the fire department in the event of a fire, critical personnel such as IT managers are also be notified, to launch disaster recovery and minimize damage to critical systems.
- MISTAKE: Using price as your greatest decision point. The wide range of options you have and the rates charged by various fire protection services creates a huge range in prices for commercial fire protection systems. However, having a comprehensive system that perfectly aligns with your needs is a critical part of keeping your assets and the people in your building safe. The most important consideration in your fire alarm installation should be adequately protecting yourself from risk, not the dollar signs involved.
Do you know of any other common mistakes people make while installing commercial fire protection systems? Please share them below.