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  • Writer's picturejoseph retcho

Fire Detectors for Business

fire system

Despite your best efforts, a fire can occur at any time and in any location. Protecting lives and minimizing property damage in the event of a fire is critical to your company's ongoing operations.

The ability to detect fire in its early stages is an important component of fire protection. A property protection program must include detection systems that provide early warning of a fire. They can also help you with your life safety evacuation efforts.

Smoke detectors and heat detectors are the two most common types of fire detection systems. Which to use is determined by a number of factors, including the occupancy being monitored and, perhaps most importantly, your goals (life safety and evacuation vs. property protection).

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are most effective in situations where early detection and warning of a fire is critical to life preservation. They are an essential component of a building's life safety program. The requirements for smoke detection are covered in the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code for life safety considerations.

Smoke detectors are also used when early detection and warning of a fire is critical to help minimize property damage and protect highly sensitive optics, electronic equipment, computer room equipment, and other equipment that is highly susceptible to fire or combustion byproducts.

Heat Detectors

While smoke detectors may be the best choice in some fire protection applications, heat detectors may be better for early warning in environments with excessive steam, moisture, dust, or humidity, such as parking garages and truck docks. Smoke detectors in these environments may be susceptible to false alarms. Heat detectors are not typically regarded as early warning systems for life-saving evacuation.

If your facility has an automatic sprinkler system, it can help reduce the severity of a fire while also acting as a heat detection notification system. As a result, you and the fire department will be able to respond more quickly. To adequately respond as a heat detection and notification system, the sprinkler water flow should be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the system must remain operational (e.g., control valves open, control panel continuously energized).

Notification is essential for sounding the alarm.

There is a distinction between a single smoke or heat detector and a detection system. A properly configured, monitored, and maintained detection system has the significant advantage of being able to notify building occupants and emergency responders in the early stages of a fire.

Detection systems should be set up throughout the building to sound an alarm. They should also be linked to a 24-hour monitoring service that will immediately notify the fire department.

Whatever detection system you choose must be installed and maintained per the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72).

Beyond Detection Systems

Detection, as important as it is, is not a substitute for fire prevention and suppression, especially when the combustibility of property - construction, and contents - is significant.

Smoke and heat detectors have no effect on preventing or extinguishing a fire. They are simply detectors that are intended to:

  • Recognize an abnormal condition.

  • To provide notification of a fire emergency, sound an alarm.

  • Allow for the rapid evacuation of building occupants

  • Alert emergency personnel to a fire.

Fire detection and suppression systems should be included in a comprehensive fire risk management system. The proper fire suppression system is essential for fire safety preparation! Speak to your insurance agent and make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your business in case of a fire.

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