In 2020, fire caused property loss of up to 21.87 billion dollars in the United States. There could have been a significant reduction in property loss if buildings have proper fire protection systems that are adequately maintained. Thus, the importance of fire protection cannot be overemphasized.
Unfortunately, fires are a relatively common occurrence. And, there’s no way you can be certain that your building and its occupants are safe. You also don’t know when there’s going to be a fire outbreak.
Your best course of action is to install a proper fire protection system in your building. But your work doesn’t stop there. Since fire protection should respond promptly and function well when there’s fire, they have to be properly maintained.
Below, you’ll find tips for maintaining your fire protection and alarm systems. Here they are:
Check fire alarms
Fire alarms are important components of a fire protection system as they notify building occupants when there’s a potential threat. Depending on your type of fire alarm, it may come with fire detection capabilities or only have manual levers to trigger a local alarm. In the case of the latter, someone must discover the fire and pull the alarm.
It’s important that you check your fire alarms to ensure they are working properly. This is simple and straightforward as all you have to do is press the ‘test’ button on the alarm system.
Then, you’ll know whether the alarm is working properly throughout your building or not. Alarm sensors should also be checked and ensured to be free from dust and dirt.
Maintain your sprinklers
Fire sprinkler systems are one of the most widely accepted methods of controlling/fighting fires in the early stages. They protect lives and property and significantly reduce property loss during a fire. However, sprinkler systems require periodic maintenance to remain in excellent working order.
Lack of maintenance can cause sprinkler systems to fail to activate when there’s a fire. The pipes that deliver life-saving water to the system could corrode and affect the performance of the system.
Freezing is another potential problem especially for buildings in cold climates. It’s important that sprinkler systems be inspected by a professional. And, any fire sprinkler repair be promptly carried out.
Inspect smoke detectors
Smoke detectors prevent fires from catching you by surprise and could be the difference between getting out safely and getting injured in a fire. Speak to a professional about the type of smoke detector to install and inspect the detectors regularly to ensure they are in good working condition. Batteries should be replaced regularly and the detector be kept clean.
Larger homes or buildings will need more smoke detectors and they should be installed on every building floor including a basement.
Never install a smoke detector near vents or windows. And any detector installed in a building’s air handling duct should be periodically cleaned. Also, don’t paint over your smoke detectors.
Maintain fire extinguishers
Fire alarms and sprinkler systems are obvious components of a fire safety plan. But another component you shouldn’t overlook is a fire extinguisher. Ideally, fire extinguishers should be on every level in a building, garage and kitchen included. The benefit of a fire extinguisher is that it allows you to put off small fires before they spread.
You shouldn’t have an extinguisher in your home. You should know how to use it. Periodic inspection of extinguishers is also important to verify they remain in working condition.
Check the nozzles of your fire extinguisher to see if they are dented or damaged. The pin should also be intact and the pressure of the extinguisher should remain at the recommended level.
There are many types of fire extinguishers available on the market. Some fire extinguishers are designed for certain types of fires and you should consult a professional on the type of extinguisher to buy.
Maintain fire exits and inspect fire doors
Clear and accessible fire exits are especially important for commercial buildings. Such exits should be free from clusters and allow people to exit the building safely. And where fire doors are installed, they should be inspected periodically.
Fire doors slow the spread of fire and provide additional time to exit a building. They can also reduce property loss during a fire.
Things to look out for when inspecting a fire door include ensuring labels are clearly visible and legible, checking the integrity of the door, and looking for holes or gaps in the door.