According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 110,000 non-residential structure fires occurred in 2015, killing 80 people and doing $3.1 billion in property damage.
No matter the structure, fires can occur at any place and at any time. Hotel and motel fires cause an estimated 15 deaths and 150 injuries every year. Electrical malfunction accounts for 19 percent of non-confined fires in hospitals.
No matter the type of property or how big or small the building, fire alarm inspections are important for fire prevention. Fires in warehouse properties have declined substantially over the past 30 years (4,700 in 1980 to 1,200 in 2011), but commercial fire alarm inspections are still paramount. If you’re a business owner, here are several reasons to have regular fire alarm inspections.
- Insurance: Many safeguards are in place to help prevent fires in commercial buildings. The combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in all buildings could reduce overall injuries, loss of life and property damage by at least 50 percent. But if there is a fire, an insurance carrier will have a hard time believing and processing a damage claim if there’s no proof that you’ve recently done a fire alarm inspection.
- Money: Regularly fire alarm inspections can lead to discounts from insurance companies if you can prove it. Not only might you be able to save money, but having fire protection services can also save you money when it comes to legal costs. If a business fire alarm stops working, a company might be held liable if there are injuries or any harm done to people in the building. It’s yet another reason why fire alarm inspections pay off.
- Laws: Cities and states have legal requirements for fire alarm systems and nationally there’s NFPA 72, or the National Fire Alarm Code, which specifies the “application, installation, location, performance, inspection, testing and maintenance of fire alarm systems.
- Eliminating troubles: Regular fire alarm inspections can make sure that a building’s alarm works and ensure that fire alarms aren’t going off at the wrong times and causing a distraction. Nuisance alarms can draw fines, so it’s best to double check fire alarm installation, make fire alarm repairs and do inspections to make sure they’re working properly.
As a building owner your first responsibility is to protect the people living in or doing business in your building. A properly working fire alarm can put everyone at ease. Since 1980, the number of fire-related calls dealt with by United States’ fire departments has decreased, but as of 2016 there were still more than a million calls related to fires.
If you’re a business owner in need of a fire alarm inspection, Buildings Magazine offers tips on how to comply with an inspection and Alarm Detection Systems gives a helpful overview of why fire alarm inspections are important and what you can expect when one is done.