Minimizing Damage and Loss- The Importance of Early Fire Detection

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Fire protection systems such as fire sprinklers, fire alarms, and fire suppression systems are vitally important to the safety of workers and tenants in large buildings such as apartments, hospitals, and data centers. Detection of a possible fire, the sole job of fire alarms, is likely the best way to prevent loss of belongings, data, or life due to the increased amount of time people have to escape the area of the fire and firefighters have to get to the scene of the fire. Fire alarm inspections make sure that all fire protection systems are working properly, which make them necessary for all kinds of property managers to consider. These inspections would detail many important aspects of the fire alarm system, including the battery life remaining and the response time from the start of the fire. Property managers of large structures should make a habit of inspecting fire detection systems to ensure they work properly, minimize damage to the structure, and reduce the loss of people, data, and belongings.

Reasons for Routine Fire Alarm Inspections

    1. The fire department can minimize damage as long as the detection system is able to give their personnel a 10 to 15 minute warning.

    Firefighters are able to get to the scene of a fire very quickly and start putting it out while preventing it from spreading. Once a fire detection system is activated, firefighters are immediately notified and race to the scene. Even if a commercial fire sprinkler system and suppression system is located far away from the start of the fire, or if it malfunctions and does not activate, the fire department employees are equipped to handle the situation and save lives. Property managers should understand that keeping fire alarm inspections up to date can minimize their potential for property damage.

    2. In one study, 19% of commercial fire protection services did not activate properly.

    In cases in which dry or possibly wet chemical systems should have activated but those systems failed, the only line of defense left to save the building would be the fire alarm system. Knowing that the fire alarm will ring appropriately in all cases of a fire is imperative to property managers. Routine fire alarm inspections are the only way to be absolutely positive that the fire department will be notified at the start of a fire and be present to stop the fire, therefore mitigating damage and loss, since such a large percentage of fire protection services are unreliable.

    3. Only 35% of businesses, from a survey of 119, had any type of evacuation plan.

    Property managers of all commercial buildings should keep updated evacuation plans in case of an emergency or a fire at all times. Since this survey found so few businesses that had these evacuation plans in place, with probably even fewer employees actually understanding and being able to execute the plan, early detection of a fire is crucial to the orderly and safe exit of personnel. Once again, yearly, if not more frequent, fire alarm inspections are integral to the detection of the fire, which would allow everyone the opportunity to safely exit the building. Workers and tenants would also be more inclined to stay longer in buildings in which they feel safe, potentially increasing profit for businesses or managers of apartments and condos.

Knowing these facts, property managers should understand the importance of not only fire protection systems, but fire detection systems. Without the knowledge that a fire has sparked and evacuation is necessary, there could be massive loss and damage due to inadequate or failure of fire protection services. Routine fire alarm inspections are indispensable in large structures, where fires could affect many people, belongings, and data.

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