Making sure your tenants know what to do in case of a fire is important, but so is keeping your fire sprinklers and fire alarms up to date. Your fire alarm services should stay up to date and you should have a regular fire alarm inspection and fire sprinkler maintenance conducted. Commercial fire protection services are crucial to have, given that apartments, hotels, offices, and facilities that tend to the ill (such as hospitals, nursing homes, etc.,) make up half of all high-rise fires. Hotel and motel fires account for over $75 million in property loss. With regular fire alarm inspection and good fire alarm systems, you can help protect your tenants and your property from disaster. Both sides of fire safety are imperative to keeping everyone safe — the people need to know what to do and the equipment needs to work properly. Let’s talk about what you need to know regarding fire protection as a property manager or fire safety director.
How Often Should I Have a Fire Alarm Inspection or Check On My Fire Safety Equipment?
There’s actually an easy answer to this. The short answer is that you should have your fire alarms inspected twice a year, six months apart. For more detail on the other aspects of your fire safety equipment, you should check out NFPA-72, which instructs you on what you should be checking weekly, quarterly, semiannually, and annually. For example, you should be checking the LED’s on the panel trouble signal every week, but you only need to test the alarm sounds and heat detectors once a year.
When it comes to to other fire safety systems, you should refer to NFPA 25, which mandates how often you should inspect, test, and maintain water-based fire protection, such as sprinklers.
What Are Common Causes of Commercial Fires?
Cooking fires are a huge cause of commercial fires – just looking at medical facility fires, confined cooking fires were responsible for over half of the incidents. Looking more broadly, one in four office fires are due to cooking fires.
Sadly, the next most common cause of commercial fires are intentionally set — and these tend to cause the most damage, as they’re done during hours where their chances of being observed are low. Inattention and human error as well as heating fires are also common.
Obviously if a commercial fire gets going, you want to be able to put it out quickly and effectively. Dry or wet chemical systems that were activated by a fire worked in just over 80% of reported fires that were big enough to trigger the equipment, but sadly a lack of maintenance was responsible for just under 45% of system failures between 2006 and 2010. That number is entirely too high when lives are at stake. Furthermore, property losses and the cost to rebuild are often huge, which means a heavy toll for your property value.
Why Are Fire Protection Services Important?
Fire protection services, like fire alarms, fire sprinklers, and fire suppression systems offer a first line of defense before the fire department can get on the scene. They’ll warn inhabitants that a fire has been detected and give advance notice to evacuate.
In the best case scenario, they’ll be able to suppress the fire, preventing further damage. In other cases, they may not be able to put out the fire entirely, in some cases, but they offer the people inside the building a head start in evacuating and may be able to save some of the building or stop the flames from spreading.
Without the help of fire drills and fire protection services, we’d be unorganized in a fire situation — having rules to follow and a procedure helps minimize the panic, as well as the knowledge that there’s a fire protection service at work.
Maintaining your fire protection services by doing a routine fire alarm inspection or fire sprinkler check up can make a huge difference in the long run. Don’t let your inspections or maintenance lapse — it’s your tenants’ lives on the line.