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Fire Suppression “Need To Know” For Your Business

A fire suppression system is a major consideration for any business. Although no one wants to the think of the worst-case scenario, not being prepared in the event of a fire can leave your business devastated. A fire suppression system is a vital part of protecting the business from potential disaster.

Depending on the nature of your business, having a fire protection system might be a legal requirement. One such consideration is whether the public will have access to the business or not. This is in the best interest of public safety and often precludes the business from actually opening. Other considerations would be whether you would be working with hazardous chemicals or other materials that could be considered to be particularly flammable. Protecting you’re the business from fire should include the protection of any data that is collected and stored for the purpose of conducting business. You might be able to rebuild the shop, but without the vital data, you’re going to be at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to getting back on your feet. All of these factors will determine which type of fire suppression system that you ultimately decide on.

Fire suppression systems use either water or the combination of various chemicals to automatically deploy and put out the fire. Here are some of the most commonly used fire protection systems:

Water 

This is the most commonly used fire suppression system where people might be involved in the event of a fire. Obviously harmless to humans, you will typically see these sprinklers when entering public spaces where people are likely to be. Another consideration is that these types of systems are not portable and not movable to a new location if necessary.

Gas

These fire protection systems don’t put the fire out by smothering it with chemicals or some other agent. They work to suppress the fire by depriving it of oxygen or inhibiting chemical processes needed for it to burn. For this reason, it’s obvious that this would not be the ideal solution for areas where a human presence is likely. This method is used quite often in computer rooms or data centers where water or fire suppressive chemicals could damage the computer systems, hence compromising vital data. This requires that the room be sealed and a warning system be in place in the event of deployment. This way, anyone in the room has ample time to escape before the system deploys.

Aerosol

These fire protection systems release a fine mist or fog that settles and suppresses ignition of the fire. Considered non-toxic and safe, the material used is easily cleaned with a light dusting after deployment and does not appear to have any adverse affects to the surfaces that it settles on.

Most efficient fire protection systems involve the use of more than one of these technologies to provide ample protection to all areas of the business. Utilizing just one may leave other vital areas of the business unprotected. This is why having a fire suppression system that is customizable is key in getting complete coverage.

As an example, you could use a gas fire protection system in your computer room and a water based system in your offices. This way you have adequate protection for both areas. Each business is unique and the combination you choose is going to be determined by your individual situation. Additionally, cost is another factor when implementing a fire protection system. Typically water based systems are more expensive and cost greater amounts for installation.

Post Fire Clean Up

Post fire clean up is something few consider. The fire may be suppressed, but the time to clean up and get things back up and running may take longer than you thought. The sooner you can get things back to normal, the less revenue you’re going to lose. Make sure you inquire about any residue left by the fire protection system and any damage that the system itself could cause.

Another thing you might want to factor in is the cost benefit on your insurance. You might want to contact your insurance company beforehand and find out what if any benefits they can provide based on the system you choose. Some systems might have a cost offset that makes them more affordable than you previously thought which could mean that you can get more extensive fire protection coverage.

A good resource for information is your local Fire and Rescue. They are familiar with the structures in their coverage area and should be able to make recommendations based on their experience and what they’ve seen work effectively. When you consider that they are in the business of putting out fires, they should know which systems fail as opposed to which configurations consistently work in minimizing damage during a fire. Additionally, they are also familiar with current fire codes and what’s legally required. This way you’ll have the information before you spend money only be told that it’s not adequate requiring further cost or delay in opening your business.

In addition to your local fire department, where your business resides should be able to provide you with any additional codes or regulations that you need to be aware of. Laws and rules are there for a reason and rather than trying to find ways around them it’s best to get the information straight from the source and install your fire protection system accordingly.

Having a reliable and professionally installed fire suppression system will give you peace of mind knowing that your business will be back on its feet quickly in the event of a fire. By making an informed choice, you’ll be protecting your business, your data, your employees and your patrons. With this system in place, you’ll be able to concentrate on the running of your business and not how you’re going to recover should the worst-case scenario occur. Shop around and ask questions so that you know that you are making the right choice for your business and your needs.

Yours in Fire Safety

Alex

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