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The 5 Do’s of Fire Protection

Posted on: November 20, 2012

Maintaining and operating your fire protection systems is important – but it can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. At Confires, we want to help everyone stay as safe as possible by knowing exactly what to do with their fire protection systems. To that end, we’ve created a list of rules pertaining to your fire protection system!

Take responsibility for your fire protection systems – many facility managers and building operators think of fire protection as a “set it and forget it” thing –installed because they are required and that’s all. But there’s much more to it than that! NFPA 72, The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, makes it clear that you as a building operator are responsible for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of your fire protection systems. Taking responsibility means being proactive and intentional about managing your systems and knowing what it takes to maintain a high level of reliability.

Understand how your fire protection system works– do you know the difference between your fire alarm’s trouble signal and supervisory signal? The correct way to respond to these different signals? Many facility managers don’t know how to answer these questions, but it’s important that you learn how your system operates so you know how to act in an emergency.

Know your fire protection system’s inspection and maintenance requirements–NFPA standards lay out minimum inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements for all of your fire protection systems, and at Confires, we can help you keep on top of all of these. But you should not overlook the importance of visual inspections in between professional ones! Periodically test your fire pump and other fire protection systems to verify their functionality by simulating the events and conditions that you would find during an emergency situation. Remember—all these maintenance tasks are necessary to keep the system in good operating condition. These tasks include both periodic preventative maintenance activities and making the required repairs revealed by the inspection or testing of the system components.

Train your people–while people in your office may have different roles, everyone in your building should have a basic understanding of what to do in the event of a fire. Some must understand how to operate the fire protection system so they can interact with it in the event of an emergency. Others should know how to operate a fire extinguisher. Still others need only know the best evacuation route to get out of the building as soon as possible. Some fire systems, like Clean Agent Extinguishing Systems, have very specific NFPA requirements for personnel training.

Pay attention to record keeping – do you know where your building’s fire protection documentation is? Fire protection is complex, and you may have several different types of records that are important to maintain. For example, every fire alarm system should have what’s called a “Record of Completion” document that is current with any and all system changes made over the life of the system. Other important records include as-built drawings, owner’s manuals, site-specific software, and a written sequence of operation. Facility managers should also be certain to keep records of past inspections and service of the system.

Those are the five things you SHOULD do when it comes to your fire protection system – check back soon for the five things you should NOT do!

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