Fire protection is comprised of all the things that are meant to control a fire’s ability to grow and spread, reducing potential destruction. There are three basic facets of fire protection: building design, fire detection, and fire suppression. This article will focus on the former two.
Building design is encompasses several systems including electrical, architectural, structural, and mechanical. Your building’s design, at a minimum, should comply with all appropriate building and fire codes for all relevant governing bodies. These regulations are put into place in order to optimally restrict the spread of fire in the facility. Through thoughtful construction, building design can reduce the spread, intensity, and magnitude of a fire. Below are several key criteria and tips when reviewing building design for fire protection:
- Electrical outlet boxes should be placed on opposite sides of the wall. They should be separated by a horizontal distance of at least 24 inches or be protected by the recommended putty pads, and should only be made of materials successfully tested for use in fire-resistance-rated assemblies.
- Large areas should be subdivided in order to reduce horizontal fire spread.
- Construction should utilize fire-rated partitions and firewalls to create separate fire divisions that help limit exposure.
- Fire sprinkler systems, standpipes, explosion relief venting, and special hazard systems individualized for the facility’s needs should all be installed.
When designing a building, all systems should coordinate to ensure that they work smoothly together. For instance, the sprinkler system zoning has to coordinate with the fire alarm zoning, and the fire alarm and egress system have to coordinate with the building security. Also, the fire separations and means of egress, along with other relevant disciplines, have to coordinate with the architectural design.
The second category of fire protection, fire detection, is considered the single most important factor in reducing loss of life from fire. In fact, the NFPA reported that the majority of office fires occur in locations without smoke detectors or other fire detection devices. Having adequate detection mechanisms allows for more responsive fire suppression methods and can prevent property loss. When determining the optimal system, there are several detectors to take into consideration:
- Smoke detector: measures smoke density
- Flame detector: measures flame radiation flux
- Heat detector: measures air temperature or temperature changes
- Gas detector: measures and monitors gases released from a fire
Each of these mechanisms receives information and then inputs the values to a decision-making device. An alarm will sound if that inputted value differs from the predetermined, ideal value.
By thoroughly thinking through building design and fire detection, your facility will be well-prepared to contain and control possible incidents of fire. However, even when you’ve done everything you can to protect against fire, accidents and malfunctions can still happen.
Adequate insurance coverage is necessary to protect yourself and your business financially. Contact Cannasure today to make sure you’re covered if disaster strikes.