Fire Protection for Commercial Buildings: Fire Protection System
Fire protection for commercial buildings: No matter what type of building you manage, there are three duties that you need to either take care of on a regular basis or bring in fire protection for commercial buildings.
You need to do regular visual checks of each fire detection, notification or protection device and make sure everything is still intact and the unit appears to be in operating condition. This should happen as often as every month if possible. This task is easy enough for a building owner or facilities department to handle in-house.
A formally qualified tester has to come in and test the fire protection for commercial buildings to see how it will perform during an emergency. This task is generally farmed out to third-party testing services.
The manufacturers of each part of the fire protection for buildings system will require certain maintenance to keep the various components in good shape.
Depending on the type of system and the components, you might have to run pumps weekly and document whether they performed.
You might need to make sure a sprinkler system’s valves are lubricated or even periodically disassembled to check that the system isn’t corroded or blocked.
In addition to influencing the installation requirements, occupancy and building type also influence testing.
It’s optimal to conduct the testing when no one is in the building – for example, nights or weekends – but that’s probably impossible if you’re managing a hospital.
If your building is always occupied, work with the inspection company to conduct the tests in phases and move people out of the testing areas as much as you can.
If you haven’t kept up with a regular maintenance schedule, catch up now to avoid the potential legal nightmare that could result if you have a fire and your system doesn’t function the way it should.
3 Tips for Fire Protection System Optimization
Consider these ideas for making sure your fire protection system is fully maintained, code-compliant and ready to be arranged at instant’s notice.
1) Make more than one copy of your documentation.
Aside from the mandatory inspection, testing and maintenance routine, you need proof that you’ve actually been doing what you’re required to do.
Document every interaction you have with your fire protection system, even the simple visual inspection where you simply look at the unit and confirm that no one has vandalized it recently. The records must be readily available to the authority having jurisdiction over your area.
A good practice is to keep a physical set in the office they work in and another set in a companion building at a different location.
Another trend is keeping a set of records in the cloud. If the building gets wiped out by a fire, earthquake or tornado you can still have access to them.
If you use a third-party service for testing and maintenance, review their records periodically to make sure they’re documenting everything they’re supposed to.
2) Install extra detection.
You can go above and beyond with installing extra equipment as long as all of it meets minimum requirements.
3) Upgrade to better equipment.
The voice alarm for a high-rise building can provide extra value if it also incorporates a mass notification system.
The voice component is mandatory but a mass notification system could deploy messages in multiple formats so that people who can’t hear the voice alarm can also receive the instructions.
Some systems can capture computer screens or send out automated texts or phone calls to make sure everyone who needs to receive the message is able to get it.